Brits get European holiday boost as Covid beta strain ‘fades away after a week’
France is set to re-open to Brit tourists with no quarantines for the jabbed after a Covid variant was successfully contained.
Spain and Greece are also likely to stay on the amber list after fears they would move up to ‘amber-plus’, according to The Times.
Amber-plus is a special category forcing 10-day quarantines even for the jabbed.
The Beta variant first traced in South Africa last year and made headway in France during June and July.
Scientists feared that strain of the virus was more resistant to vaccines, leading the government to create the new amber-plus category for France alone.
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Yet new research and low case rates mean France will now be put back on the amber list – meaning quarantine-free travel for the jabbed.
Spain and Greece were expected to replace France as amber-plus due to higher case rates in both Mediterranean countries, but government sources now say this is unlikely to happen.
Hopes for a French easing emerged on Friday when a cabinet minister said the Beta variant was being watched closely.
Environment minister George Eustice told LBC: “As those rates come down, obviously the evidence will change and it can be reviewed.
“And we will want to be putting countries like France back onto the amber list in the normal way.”
Airports said they had their busiest weekend since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 400k Brits fleeing the country for some much-needed time off.
It coincided with the end of the UK’s short-lived heatwave, giving Brits the best of both worlds as much of Europe continues to bake.
Since last Monday the fully vaccinated have been able to travel quarantine-free to amber list countries, further encouraging foreign travel as the school holidays began.
But there was transport hell at Heathrow, where two-hour queues were reported by furious passengers.
The government will release the new traffic light list this week.
Croatia, Bulgaria, Hong Kong and Taiwan were added to the coveted green list last time around.
Italy, Germany and Poland could be the lucky few nations to join the restrictions-free list at the beginning of next month.
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