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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Holidays to France and Spain with Covid vaccine passports ‘to be approved by EU’

Brit tourists flying to European holiday hotspots will be able to use ‘vaccine passports’ from Wednesday, according to reports.

EU ambassadors are expected to sign off on plans that would allow Brits who are fully vaccinated to fly into the bloc without needing a Covid test or to quarantine.

But that will not be enough on its own to open up breaks to the Continent – as destinations will need to be on the UK’s own ‘green list’ too.

While returning to the UK from amber and red list countries is not illegal, British holidaymakers have been told by the government not to go to those countries. And if they do, they must quarantine for 10 days on their return.

It comes after England confirmed its latest stage of unlocking coronavirus restrictions from Monday.

Among the raft of restrictions that have now been lifted foreign holidays are back on the cards, under the new traffic light system.

This sees countries ranked as either green, amber or red, depending on their level of Covid risk, and dictating the testing that is needed as well as any quarantine.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the EU plan is due to be signed off tomorrow.

According to a draft plan floated by the European Commission earlier this month, British tourists were set to be allowed holidays in the bloc under two routes.

Fully vaccinated people from any country – including the UK – would be allowed entry to popular destinations such as Spain, France and Italy under a universal entry rule.

Then, unvaccinated people would also be allowed in – but only if the country they’re from has an infection rate below 100 in 100,000.

EU ambassadors will meet to agree a European Commission proposal calling for travel restrictions on non-EU countries to be lifted.

If an agreement is reached, the decision will be formally adopted at the EU trade ministers council on Thursday, it’s reported.

The bloc will also be recommended to launch digital portals allowing vaccinated Brits to show their status via the NHS app, it is reported.

The NHS app – not the NHS Covid-19 app, which is separate – has already been updated to allow Brits to show their vaccination status for travel.

Paul Charles, the chief executive of travel PR firm The PC Agency, reportedly said: “The Europeans are just more optimistic than the UK.

“They realise how critical travel and tourism is to their economies so they are moving at great speed to introduce a more seamless approach to travel for the summer season.”

Sean Doyle, the chief executive of BA, and John Holland-Kaye, his Heathrow counterpart, were also reported to have called on the government to publish its list of countries expected to move to the green list for summer.

They said it was so that holidaymakers could plan ahead and to avoid ‘high prices and limited choices for last minute booking.’

Just 12 countries are on England’s green list for travel, including Portugal, which already saw a wave of Brit tourists fly in yesterday.

Most of the rest of Europe, including France, Spain and Italy, are all on the amber list, meaning more tests and quarantine on the return leg is needed.

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