Last week, the government moved France to the new orange-plus list, ending non-quarantine travel for those fully vaccinated and leaving vacation plans for tens of thousands of travelers in chaos.
The government made the move amid rising rates of the beta variant over fears that the strain, which is believed to be more vaccine resistant, could be ‘reseeded’ in the UK.
In an interview with LBC on Friday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “There was a reason at the time the advice was that we should put France on this orange list (more), c ‘was a concern about the beta variant and the fact that the vaccine might be slightly less effective against it.
“But as those rates go down, obviously the evidence will change, and it can be examined, and we will want to put countries like France back on the Amber List in the normal way. ”
Infection rates in France are increasing, with a 14-day infection rate per 100,000 out of 121. However, the incidence rates of the beta variant, which prompted the switch to the amber plus list, are increased from 14% of cases in June. just 5 percent of those analyzed so far in July.
France responded to a fourth rising wave in the country on Wednesday with the introduction of mandatory Covid passes to visit attractions, including the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland Paris.
The new pass – which will display a person’s immunization status, proof of recent recovery from the virus, or a recent negative test result – will be required to access any leisure activity where more than 50 people are gathered, including museums, cinemas, swimming pools, festivals, theme parks, shopping malls, bars, cafes, restaurants and concerts.
Children under 12 will be exempt.
How the traffic light system works
The lists are decided on the basis of the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that has been vaccinated
- The infection rate
- The prevalence of worrisome variants
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
There are now five categories of traffic lights, two more than when Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps first announced the system in May 2021.
Vert: arrivals must pass a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return. Quarantine does not apply (unless the Covid test comes back positive) and there is no requirement for further testing.
Green Watch List: the same rules as the green list. However, the countries on this list “are at risk of going from green to orange”, potentially in the very short term.
Amber: all travelers must pass a pre-departure test three days before return and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return. Unvaccinated travelers should also self-isolate for 10 days and have a second PCR test on day 8. An optional five-day additional test may be performed, with a negative result allowing unvaccinated travelers to “test” out of quarantine. The Day 8 PCR test should always be performed regardless of the result of the optional Day 5 PCR test.
Amber plus: all travelers must pass a pre-departure test three days before return and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return and must self-isolate at home for 10 days. An optional additional PCR test can be performed on day 5, with a negative result allowing unvaccinated travelers to “test” out of quarantine. The Day 8 PCR test should always be performed regardless of the result of the optional Day 5 PCR test.
Rouge: arrivals from Red List countries must complete a 10 day stay in a managed quarantine hotel at a cost of £ 1,750 per person, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing no later than day 2 and on or after the eighth day.
Optimism about the possibility of France moving to the Amber List will be tempered by fears that the Balearic Islands will be moved to the Amber Plus List, as cases on the archipelago reach record levels.
The 14-day infection rate in the Spanish region per 100,000 population now stands at 802.00, with rates as high as 1,125 on the party island of Ibiza.
However, cases of the beta variant, which is supposed to be factored into government decision making on traffic light categories, are on the decline in Spain, with just 2% of cases considered the most resistant variant. to the vaccine.