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Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned Boris Johnson that the UK’s border rules would hurt the economy and run the risk of putting the country ‘out of step’ with its international rivals, ahead of an expected announcement on travel restrictions later this week.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, Sunak used the letter to the Prime Minister to express concern about the economic impact of travel restrictions on sectors such as tourism and hospitality, arguing that the UK had failed to benefit from its vaccination program. Until July 30, approx. 46.8 m people – 88.5 percent of all adults – have now received their first shot.
The government is expected to provide an update on the travel light list on Thursday. Ministers will evaluate the latest coronavirus data from the Joint Biosecurity Center earlier this week.
According to current rules, people with two doses of the coronavirus vaccine return to England amber light countries such as Italy does not have to quarantine. Those returning from red list countries must undergo several coronavirus tests and remain in hotel quarantine.
Under new guidelines issued last week and will take effect Monday, foreign travelers from amberland countries who have been fully vaccinated in the EU and US with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency or the US Food and Drug Administration, England, Scotland and Wales without quarantine.
Despite the recent weakening of travel rules, concerns have grown that more countries may soon impose stricter restrictions. Sixteen countries have been placed on a ‘green watch list’, which means they are in danger of becoming amber.
Last week, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab refused to rule out the creation of an ‘amber watch list’, which would increase the risk of increased restrictions.
Over the weekend, back seat Tory LPs called on the government to take precautions for Britons traveling abroad to ensure that people flying out of the country under one set of rules do not face a new set of rules on their return, amid concerns that the prospect of ever-changing rules troubled travelers.
Sir John Hayes, who leads the Common Sense group Tory MPs, told the Post on Sunday: ‘It’s really important for holidaymakers to know where they stand. The worst in the world would be if you flew somewhere and realized you could not come back except at considerable cost. ‘
Some have meanwhile questioned the public health implications of repealing international travel rules. Labor argued, for example, that UK border policy was inadequate during the pandemic and called for a more robust strategy, taking into account measures such as airport tests and international passport schemes.
“We are really concerned about making sure that new varieties do not come to the UK and that we have a system that identifies where we have varieties of Covid where there is infection and that we can isolate them,” the party said. Deputy leader Angela Rayner said on a recent trip to Hull.