Warning on amber trips as Tory says ‘You wouldn’t drive through an amber light’

Brits have been told to avoid holidays to amber list countries as a top Tory warned: “You wouldn’t drive through an amber light”.

Holidaymakers were dealt a fresh blow when ministers decided to axe quarantine-free travel to Portugal amid fears over the spread of a new variant.

People were scrambling to get back from the holiday hotspot before the rules come into force at 4am on Tuesday.

The move heaps fresh misery on families and the travel industry, as Portugal was the only mainstream European destination named when international travel reopened on May 17.

Anyone visiting an amber list country will have to quarantine at home for up to 10 days, while travellers from red list countries must shell out £1,750 for a 10-day hotel stay.

Brits face fresh holiday chaos as quarantine-free travel to Portugal was axed

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick urged people not to take holidays in countries on the amber list – which includes popular holiday destinations like Spain, Italy and France.

He told Sky News: “I hope people will appreciate that you shouldn’t be visiting those countries on the amber list for holidays.

“You wouldn’t drive through an amber light at the traffic lights, you shouldn’t be going on holiday to those countries either.”

Mr Jenrick defended the decision to put Portugal on the amber list, which has sparked fury from the travel industry.

He pointed to a doubling of positive cases in the country in the past week, alongside concern about the prevalence of the infectious Delta strain – formerly known as the Indian variant.

The Cabinet Minister said there were instances of a so-called Nepal mutation of the variant in Portugal, which has triggered alarm among ministers.

“We don’t yet know how much of a problem that is, how transmissibility is, whether it might be too difficult even for our vaccines. But it’s important that we take a cautious approach,” he said.

“So we take action now whilst we do research and learn more about that variant.”

Mr Jenrick said he was not aware of any Nepal variant cases in the UK but Portuguese scientists had detected it.

“What we don’t yet know is how prevalent it is in Portugal – but more importantly than that, whether this really is a significant problem,” he said.

“You could of course wait whilst we do that research and then, God forbid, we learn that it is very virulent, that it does compromise our vaccines, or we can take a safety-first approach.”

He said he understood “how frustrating this is both for people in Portugal and for millions of people here who would love to go on holiday”.

But he warned that the Government needed to take action to prevent June 21 lockdown easing from being derailed.