The shock decision to add Portugal to the Amber list is a huge blow to those who are currently in Portugal and those who have booked to be reunited with loved ones, or take a well-deserved break this summer. With Portuguese [Covid-19] rates similar to those in the UK it simply isn’t justified by the science.
And to add no more countries to the Green list when most of Europe’s infection rates are on a downward trend, and many places with low infection rates below that of the UK, such as the Balearics with a current rate of 33 in 100,000 and Malta, with just 12 in 100,000, this makes no sense. Especially when domestic travel is allowed within the UK, despite a number of cities having infection rates 20-times greater than much of Europe.
When this framework was put together, consumers were promised a waiting list to allow them to plan. Yet the government has torn up its own rule book and ignored the science, throwing peoples’ plans into chaos, with virtually no notice or alternative options for travel from the UK. This decision essentially cuts the UK off from the rest of the world.
We have demonstrated that a safe re-opening of travel is possible, as our study with leading epidemiologists from the Yale School of Public Health showed that the criteria which matters most is the impact on hospitalisation rates back in the UK, not the infection rates at the destination. Reopening travel to much of Europe would have a negligible impact on hospitalisation rates in the UK.
While our European fleet is gearing up for summer as European governments open up travel for their citizens, the UK government is making it impossible for airlines to plan, while consumers are left grounded in the UK.