Game-changing Delta variant sparks travel fears as more countries added to green list

Travel ‘shouldn’t be done for non-essential reasons’ says expert

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A professor from pandemic and borders, an international team conducting research on travel restrictions during pandemics, has said that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is a “game-changer”, urging the public that travel should NOT be done for “non-essential” reasons.  

Professor Kelley Lee told BBC Newsnight: “Well we know from the past 18 months that travel and COVID are intimately related, and that the pandemic is really not over yet.

“So traveling at this time really should not be done for non-essential reasons, and that’s because of the Delta variant.”

She went on: “A few months ago we would have been more optimistic, and we would have seen vaccination rates going up.

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“And we would have been able to relax the restrictions that we have now, but the Delta variant is a bit of a game changer and that’s changed the situation substantially.”

Despite a fall in infections Britain still has a higher infection rate than many countries on the amber list.

Under current rules travellers do not have to isolate for 10 days when arriving from amber list countries if they were fully vaccinated in the UK, US, EU (except France) or Switzerland.

For five days, the government pondered the idea of an “amber watchlist” to warn visitors that the country they wanted to visit could turn from amber to red on the traffic light system for international travel.

However, the idea leaked and criticisms were coming from the travel industry and anonymous government sources.

Boris Johnson has said that the UK must try and stop new Covid variants from being imported from abroad, but the government will take a “balanced approach” to travel.

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On a visit to Airbus in Stevenage, the prime minister said: “On travel, we have had to balance it because of the anxiety that I think a lot of people have – I have – about importing new variants, bringing back the disease.

“We also have to recognise that people want, badly, to go on their summer holidays, we need to get the travel industry moving again, we need to get our city centres open again and so we want an approach that is as simple as we can possibly make it.”

The travel list system is to be updated tomorrow.
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