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What is the 31 July checkpoint and what changes could be announced?

By the end of July, the UK government intends to review its international travel arrangements.

The first “checkpoint” required by the Global Travel Working Group, which was due to take place at the end of June, was lost during crossings due to changes in traffic lights.

But the second one who Independent calls the Bravo checkpoint, will occur before the next series of crossings between green, yellow, red and other categories for international arrivals.

The checkpoint can be used by the Department of Transportation (DfT) to address the most inconsistent, irrational and destructive aspects of current government policies and reduce the subsequent damage to travelers and the economy.

What is going to happen?

IN second Global Travel Taskforce report, published in April, was supposed to provide “a clear idea of ​​how to move from where we are now to a future in which travel will be less restricted,” according to the Minister of Transport. Grant Shapps

At the time, there was a 19-week ban on international travel. It ended on May 17, but was replaced by a tangle of rules and guidelines that got more complex, not less.

According to the report, Checkpoint Bravo “will consider the measures taking into account the new data, as well as the domestic and international picture of health.”

Examples are: Self-Isolation, Managed Quarantine Service. [hotel quarantine]and the options under which other measures or restrictions may apply for those with proof of vaccination.

“The checkpoints will also look at the effectiveness of measures to move towards a safe, sustainable and reliable international travel system in the long term,” the report said.

Top of the list: find out foreign vaccinations

Assuming the government is seeking to eliminate the most damaging of its current regulations, refusing to accept vaccines introduced abroad as an alternative to quarantine is the most dangerous – for both the people and the tourism industry – and has no obvious benefits other than suppressing demand. for travel.

Currently, travelers to the UK who have been fully vaccinated by the US National Health Service can avoid self-isolation at home after arriving from “amber list“There are more than 150 countries, including Spain, Italy, Greece and the United States.

All other countries that allow travelers with internationally recognized vaccinations to avoid testing or quarantine take overseas vaccines when there is acceptable evidence.

But the British government is currently refusing to recognize any injections other than those given by the NHS. This is especially inexplicable for people vaccinated in the European Union, whose digital Covid certificate in the EU is the first successful and reliable large-scale international certification system.

A policy of denying flexibility for people who are not “pinned here” is tantamount to effectively banning travelers from abroad, further damaging inbound tourism and damaging the prospects of airlines, ferry companies and train operators who cannot generate income from potential visitors who turned away.

On an individual level, prohibition keeps families separate from loved ones.

While British expatriates were promised a scheme to recognize injections overseas by the end of the month, Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahavi said it depends on whether UK residents overseas talk to their therapists at home.

British expatriates do not have family doctors at home. Independent asked for clarification on this aspect of the policy.

What’s next?

“Amber plus” – and the place of France on it.

The traffic light scheme was originally intended for three categories: Red for high-risk countries, Amber for countries with moderate risk and green for low-risk countries.

Red requires hotel quarantine for all arriving travelers, and at the other end arriving from green list nations do not need to isolate themselves.

Travelers from the Amber List countries that have been fully vaccinated by the State Health Service also avoid quarantine.

Ireland has always been a separate entity. “super green“Category that does not require quarantine or testing from the republic to the UK.

There is also “green watchlist“The low risk branch of the register should point to countries that could soon be transitioned to amber. But this concept was quickly ignored, and Portugal – the only major destination on the original green list – suddenly switched to amber without mentioning the ‘green watchlist “.

Then, late on the evening of July 16, travelers heading through the canal (or who were already there) were shocked by the news that the sixth category, dubbed amber plus, was invented for France. Unlike any other amber country, Britons must self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status.

France has very close family ties with the UK. Many Britons own real estate there. Business travelers and tourists arriving from France are extremely important from an economic point of view.

The reason stated by the government – fears about the beta – does not hold water. Embassy of France in London tweeted“The beta is still in decline and now accounts for 2.3 percent of new cases, while in mainland France it is less than 2 percent.”

Travelers, the French government and industry in general are calling on UK ministers to turn around immediately before more damage is done.

Hotel quarantine

The most significant change here is likely to come from the “managed quarantine” service. The first adult is currently paying £ 1,750 for 11 nights in a quarantine hotel, including three meals, security and two post-arrival tests. The second adult in the same room pays another £ 650.

The government is believed to be losing money due to current arrangements and is therefore rumored to be considering raising the base price by £ 500.

Specify the length of the red list status

The UAE, Qatar and Turkey are currently on the highest risk register, which means hotel quarantine for all arrivals.

Every country has strong ties to the UK and hundreds of thousands of people are affected by red list status.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps says: “A particular problem in the UAE is transit. This is because they are a major transit hub. ”The same appears to be the case for Qatar and Turkey, whose main airport in Istanbul is now the busiest in Europe.

Their status as a global hub will remain unchanged and there appears to be little chance that they will be “red-listed” anytime soon.

Many travelers from these countries launder their status within 10 days in Malta, Bulgaria or Ireland. But it will help people and the travel industry understand what conditions need to be met before they are excluded from the highest risk category.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consulting

FCDO management is expected to decide whether travel package firms are eligible to conduct travel and the duration of standard travel insurance policies. If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns of non-essential travel, the organized holidays cannot be continued and the insurance will be canceled.

Formal advice is increasingly viewed with derision rather than respect. For example, six weeks before Canada’s scheduled reopening for fully vaccinated travelers on September 7, FCDO warns against any travel other than necessary to the second largest country in the world due to the “current risk assessment of Covid-19”.

According to Our World in Data, the rate of new coronavirus infections in the UK yesterday relative to the population was 50 times higher than in Canada.

Many in the travel industry are calling for harmonization of traffic light ratings and Foreign Ministry recommendations.

Independent does not recognize such a need because the two issues are different: DfT traffic light ratings are entirely related to perceived public health risks in the UK, while FCDO must measure overall hazards for individual travelers. But pretending that Brits are more at risk of contracting Covid in Canada than in the UK is ridiculous.

International cruise

Overseas cruises have been banned by the UK government for over a year. The Foreign Office says the UK Department of Health’s medical advice is making cruises too dangerous “due to the ongoing pandemic.”

In a Global Travel Taskforce report, the government pledged to “reopen international cruises along with a broader resumption of international travel under a traffic light system.”

This did not happen, but evidence of the resumption of domestic cruises indicates that the main problem is the sudden change in the minds of governments. It is difficult to highlight any fundamental objections to the resumption of international cruises.

Discovery to America

In the days when the UK had a strong inbound tourism industry and intercontinental aviation, the US was the most important market.

Joe Biden has made it clear that he is in no rush to revoke a presidential proclamation banning non-Americans who have been in the UK (and the rest of Europe) in the past 14 days.

But recognizing US vaccines, or better yet, greenlisting some or all of the United States, would at least make life easier for Americans and benefit the UK economy.

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