COVID-19: MPs criticize lack of details on vacation abroad – and ask for more by end of month | Political news

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MPs accused the government of a “missed opportunity” by failing to give more detailed plans on how Britons might enjoy holidays abroad this summer.

Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, international travel will not be allowed until May 17.

In a report earlier this month, the government’s Global Travel Taskforce confirmed plans for a traffic light system, with countries split between “green”, “orange” and “red” destinations.

According to the proposals, different travel restrictions would be applied to each category of countries, which would be determined based on their perceived COVID risk.

Non-quarantine travel would be allowed to “green” countries, while 10-day isolation periods would be required for those returning from “orange” destinations, and a 10-day hotel quarantine period would be mandatory for those returning from “orange” destinations. returning from “red” countries.

However, the House of Commons transport committee has now criticized the task force report for the lack of details needed to resume international travel.

He said international travel had its “wings cut” by the “cautious” report.

The committee concluded: “Given the urgent and existential threat to the UK aviation and travel sectors posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Global Travel Taskforce report failed to strike that balance. because it did not contain enough detail to allow businesses to prepare, and travelers to embark, for the safe restart of international travel scheduled for May 17. “

MPs also found that, even when details are provided, the costs can be disproportionate to the risk and add £ 500 to the cost of a family of four traveling to the safest parts of the world where the vaccine rolls out is comparable to the UK. .

According to the task force’s plans, a pre-departure coronavirus test would be required before heading to a “green” country, with a PCR test required on day two or before they return to the UK.

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PM ‘did not give up’ vacation abroad this summer

In order to enable the aviation and tourism sectors to prepare for the restart – and to satisfy the public’s desire to know when it is safe to book overseas travel – MEPs called for:

• Details on the countries in which categories of the traffic light system by May 1 at the latest
• An explanation of the criteria and mechanisms by which countries will pass green, orange and red categories.
• Affordable testing regime for Britons wishing to go abroad
• Action to reduce waiting times and queues at the UK border, including the development of a single digital application based system to process health certification.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the committee, said: “The aviation and travel industries have been calling for a functional report, setting clear rules and providing certainty. It’s not that.

“Where industry wanted certainty, government failed to provide it.

“For UK citizens looking to travel to parts of the globe where the vaccine has been delivered as quickly as the UK, the cost of testing for families could be higher than the cost of flights.

“This is a missed opportunity for the government to capitalize on the UK’s world leader ‘vaccine dividend’.

“How can it be fair that carriers, arriving from areas of the globe where vaccine deployment is slow, can use cheaper lateral flow tests when a return trip from Israel requires a PCR test which is four times more expensive.

“This was an opportunity to provide a global leader with standardized rules on international health certification and the promotion of application-based technology, making border processes safer and less time consuming.

“The urgent situation facing the aviation and travel sectors warrants a clear action plan to green light our travel – and the government must urgently define it.”

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