Government ministers have warned that people should not currently be visiting amber list countries for foreign holidays or other leisure purposes.
The rules on international travel from the UK changed on Monday as lockdown restrictions eased further. For the first time in months, Britons have been legally allowed to travel overseas for leisure reasons, though travel has been restricted under a traffic light system.
Travel to a small number of countries on a ‘green list’ can be completed without people having to quarantine on their return to the UK – with ‘amber’ and ‘red’ list countries both carrying extra quarantine restrictions for people travelling back to the UK.
There have been reports that some people have been travelling to amber list countries for holidays since the legal ban was lifted on Monday. Speaking about foreign holidays, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “I think it’s very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that.”
On Wednesday, Skills Minister Gillian Keegan echoed the PM’s message when speaking to Sky News, saying, “We wouldn’t advise going on holiday to the amber list countries.”
The message from the government is just advice and not currently enforceable by law. The clarification of the government’s advice comes after confusion earlier in the week, with Environment Secretary George Eustice seeming to indicate that people could travel to amber list countries to visit families and friends. Meanwhile, Lord Bethell indicated in the House of Lords that people should avoid travel whenever possible, describing it as “dangerous”.
The strength of guidance on international travel differs somewhat across different parts of the UK. In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford urged people on Friday to “take your holiday in Wales” this year and advised that foreign holidays were “best-avoided”.