Covid green list: Canaries, Balearics and Greek islands could be added to travel list, industry expert predicts

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi looks at how the updated list will impact tourists and the tourism industry

The Greek islands, Balearics and Canaries could be added to the 'green list', the CEO of Ryanair has predicted.

Michael O'Leary, who has been critical of the government's travel policies throughout the pandemic, said restrictions being lifted for the islands would be a "good starting point". However, he added that the current traffic light system is "confusing".

Holidaymakers returning to the England from green locations are not required to self-isolate, and only need to take one post-arrival coronavirus test. Currently, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Israel are among the countries on England's travel green list.

Which countries will be added to the list? Mr O'Leary gives his predictions.

An updated travel list is expected on Thursday.

Ahead of the announcement, Mr O'Leary said: "Our expectation is they'll at least lift the restriction on the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Greek islands.

"We would like to see them also add mainland Spain, Italy and mainland Greece."

Additionally, Mr O'Leary believes there's no basis for any limits on travel after June.

"If you roll out those vaccines for another two, three, four weeks in June, there's absolutely no basis for any travel restrictions - certainly to and from Europe - by the time we get to July 1," he said.

Assessments for restrictions are based on a range of factors. These include the proportion of a population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Portugal is the only viable major tourist destination currently on the green list.

"I think all this green, amber, red is just a red herring. It's just confusing people," Mr O'Leary said.

"I think people are recognising that the restrictions will be lifting in July and August and are booking accordingly".

The government has urged people against non-essential travel to amber countries, which include popular hotspots such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

What are the rules for people returning from each category?

  • Green: There is no need to self-isolate. Take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two of your arrival in the UK.

  • Amber: Self-isolate for 10 days, unless you receive a negative result from a test taken at least five days after arrival. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.

  • Red: Spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.

Mr O'Leary on why he thinks all travel restrictions should be lifted by July

Travellers returning to the UK from an amber list location must quarantine at home for 10 days and take two post-arrival PCR tests.

According to Mr O'Leary, the UK's border control is struggling to check both passports and PCR tests.

Boris Johnson said the government will “wait and see” what the recommendations of the Joint Biosecurity Centre are before announcing changes to the travel lists.

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