Hopes of a summer getaway are in the balance this week as sun-starved families await the results of a travel rules shake-up.
Labour urged the Government to “get a grip and bring this summer of chaos to an end” as the Prime Minister and Chancellor disagreed over the loosening of restrictions.
Countries deemed safe for holidays will be revealed on Thursday by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
France is expected to be moved from the amber-plus category, which could be axed altogether in an overhaul of the traffic light system.
But there are fears Spain could be switched to a new “amber watch list” of nations that could be moved to red at very short notice – deterring Brits from flying to the Costas.
Image:POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak has reportedly urged Boris Johnson to seize on the success of the vaccine rollout by loosening travel rules. He was said to have written to the PM warning restrictions are “out of step with our international competitors”, further threatening our tourism and hospitality industries.
Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said: “The Tories are in chaos over their border policy, with families stuck between the PM and the Chancellor in open disagreement.
“Not only have ministers failed to protect our borders, allowing Covid cases to rocket, they also refuse to be straight with the public and give them the information they need to book travel with confidence.
"Families who have booked holidays in good faith now risk losing out – 10-day quarantine is simply not an option for many people who are already struggling financially thanks to the pandemic.”
Whitehall insiders hope relaxing quarantine rules for the double-jabbed will boost vaccinations among youngsters, who are lagging behind the rest of the population.
Some 85 million jabs have been administered in the UK, with 88.6% of adults having had a first dose and 72.5% fully inoculated, figures showed last night.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid praised the “tireless efforts” of all those involved as he hailed the success of the rollout.
He added: “Please get both of your jabs if you haven’t already, to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
It came amid reports that the over-50s will be offered the Pfizer jab as a booster dose this autumn, even if they previously received the AstraZeneca one. However, No10 said the claims were “premature”.
A source said the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was yet to provide its clinical advice.
Italy, Croatia and Germany could be among about a dozen nations added to the travel green list this week.
Fully vaccinated travellers from the US and the EU who enter Britain after 4am today do not have to self-isolate.
However, those coming from France must still quarantine at home for 10 days – a fate that might soon await arrivals from Spain, depending on Thursday’s announcement. The Joint Biosecurity Centre will report case and jab rates on a series of countries early this week, before senior ministers and officials meet on Thursday.
The UK’s rolling seven-day infections average was down 30%, with 24,470 new cases and 65 deaths reported yesterday.
Meanwhile, plans to make it compulsory for students to prove that they are fully vaccinated before attending lectures in September have been dropped. Downing Street had floated the idea, but it is understood it was shelved amid a furious backlash from Tory MPs and concern from universities that it was unworkable.
The PM was under fresh pressure yesterday over vaccine passports as a backbench Tory joined Lib Dem demands for a recall of Parliament.
Conservative Andrew Bridgen echoed pleas from Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey for MPs to return to Westminster to debate plans for people to show proof of their coronavirus status to gain entry to domestic venues and events.
The row intensified after it emerged a “domestic” section had quietly been added to the NHS app – allowing it to be used as a Covid-19 status certificate in England as well as overseas.
Mr Bridgen told LBC Radio: “If the Government is serious about the threat of bringing in domestic vaccine passports then, of course, Parliament should be recalled. This is a very serious infringement on people’s liberties, it is basically unprecedented in this country, and I and a number of colleagues would oppose it.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said some of the nine million spare AstraZeneca jabs donated to developing countries last week were “going in arms in Jamaica”, with batches also on their way to Kenya, Guyana, Belize and Laos.