'Amber' countries: Public health professor 'very concerned' about Govt's 'mixed messages'

19 May 2021, 18:44

By Fiona Jones

Professor of Public Health Linda Bauld told LBC she was "very concerned" about people travelling to countries on the Government's amber list, after the latest Covid press conference gave "mixed messages."

Government ministers have created confusion over the foreign travel traffic light system, leaving many Brits questioning whether they can go on holiday abroad this summer and if so where.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Lord Bethell told peers that foreign trips are "dangerous" and encouraged Britons to stay in the UK this summer, just one day after the government permitted travel abroad for leisure.

Environment Secretary George Eustice told broadcasters that people could go to amber-listed countries as long as they observed quarantine rules on their return - with the PM telling the Commons today that "you should not be going to an amber list country on holiday."

Five million Brits have reportedly booked holidays to amber list countries as most summer holiday destinations fall under this categorisation.

Read more: UK travel rules: Can I holiday abroad and which countries are allowing Brits to enter?

Professor Linda Bauld told Eddie Mair, "I am very concerned about that and I remain concerned. I think the international context is really incredibly fragile if you look across the globe, although we are making progress in a lot of countries.

"Level of vaccine delivery is very low and you still have infections surging. I think the risk is not necessarily always the country you're going to, but for example, who else is coming in to that country.

"It's very unclear to me what this amber system means."

Professor Linda said that her colleague's travel insurance has told her she is covered no matter which country or traffic light categorisation it is.

"I think there's a lot of questions here about the mixed messages of what people are told they can do, and actually what they should do in the current context," she said.

Speaking in the Commons today, Boris Johnson told MPs, "If you travel to an amber list country for any emergency, any extreme reason that you have to, when you come back, you not only have to pay for all the tests but you have to self-isolate for 10 days - we will invigilate, we are invigilating it, and people who fail to obey the quarantine can face fines of up to £10,000".

A large number of countries are on the ‘amber list’ including popular short haul destinations like: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Read more: EU set to ease travel restrictions but PM warns: Don't visit 'amber list' countries