At the moment, Brits hoping for a summer holiday in Europe are faced with very few options, as only a handful of European countries have made it onto the travel green list. Swathes of Europe remains on the amber list, meaning people in the UK are not advised to travel there and face self-isolation upon their return if they do so. As England is expected to fully unlock later this month, many are hopeful the green list will be extended to include more European countries soon.
When is the next travel review?
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to provide an update later this week on the future of Covid travel rules.
Mr Shapps is expected to address plans to remove the need for fully-vaccinated arrivals to isolate when they return from an amber list country.
But the next review of the travel traffic light system is not expected until Thursday, July 15, with any changes coming into effect the following week, likely on Wednesday, July 21.
At the moment, the Government is reviewing the traffic light system every three weeks.
Several of the countries which could make the green list next based on these predictions are in Europe, such as France, Italy and Bulgaria.
According to the Telegraph, the countries which could be added are France, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Vietnam, Denmark, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Taiwan and Azerbaijan.
Germany is not predicted to be added to the list, despite the fact it was announced this week that Germany is easing restrictions on travel for people visiting from the UK, along with some other countries.
The restrictions were initially imposed because of the rise of the Delta variant in some countries.
Germany’s national disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute, said Britain, Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal will be removed from the highest risk category of “virus variant areas” from Wednesday.
Now the countries will be moved to the second-highest category of “high-incidence areas”.
This means people arriving from these areas can avoid quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
People who cannot prove they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid can cut the 10-day quarantine period in half if they test negative for COVID-19 after five days.
Canada’s government on Friday added more American neo-Nazis to its list of banned terrorist groups, yet another sign that the country is going further than the United States when it comes to recognizing such white supremacist extremists as threats.
The Three Percenters, an American anti-government militant group with a growing presence in Canada. The group’s name, according to the Anti-Defamation League, stems from the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British in the Revolutionary War. At least six members of the group have been charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. Citing materials given to reporters at a press conference, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said the Canadian government referenced the roles of two members in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year.
James Mason, a Colorado-based neo-Nazi who has advocated for lone actor attacks against the US government to foment a white revolution. Mason has also shared tactical instruction on how to run terrorist groups and is the author of a 1980s manual that is popular among extremists across the world. The Canadian government also noted Mason’s ties to the violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, whose members have been linked to several killings.
The Aryan Strikeforce, a UK-based white supremacist group with chapters in Canada and the US that advocates for violence to overthrow governments and start a race war.
An ISIS affiliate based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, said in a statement the designations are an important tool to help authorities keep pace with evolving threats and global trends.
“Recent events should remove any doubts about the serious threat posed by ideologically-motivated violent extremism,” Blair said. “Intolerance and hate have no place in our society and the Government of Canada will continue to do all we can to keep Canadians safe from all threats, including terrorism and violent extremism.”
Designating a group or individual as a “terrorist entity” under Canadian federal law makes it illegal for people to join and collaborate with the groups. It also grants the government the power to freeze the assets of people involved with the groups and charge anyone who financially or materially supports them. It can also make it easier for authorities to get online content posted by the banned extremists removed.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, Canada moved to declare four far-right or white supremacist groups as terrorist entities, marking the first time it had listed such groups. Those included Atomwaffen Division, the neo-fascist street fighting group the Proud Boys, the white supremacist accelerationist outfit The Base, and the far-right nationalist Russian Imperial Movement. Roughly two dozen people associated with the Proud Boys have been charged in the FBI’s investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
President Joe Biden and has said white supremacist violent extremists pose the most urgent threat to the US today and called them a “stain on the soul of America.” Earlier this month, the White House released a plan to combat domestic terrorism, which calls for beefing up analysts, prosecutors, and agents, but stops short of suggesting any new laws should be created to help.
The absence of specific laws outlining domestic terrorism is one reason the US hasn’t gone as far as Canada in designating US and foreign extremist groups as terrorist entities. Another is that the bar for such a designation is extremely high. The US has designated just one far-right extremist group, the Russian Imperialist Movement, as a terrorist group.
On a call with BuzzFeed News and other reporters earlier this month, a senior Biden administration official, speaking on background, said discussions regarding any new domestic terrorism laws were ongoing and no decisions had been made before the release of the White House’s new plan.
“We concluded that we didn’t have the evidentiary basis, yet, to decide whether we wanted to proceed in that direction or whether we have sufficient authority as it currently exists at the federal level,” the official said.
Call of Duty Warzone has been given a new update on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and PC.
Actually, it’s a re-release of an old patch, which was originally supposed to launch on June 30.
Unfortunately, there were issues with the Call of Duty Warzone update, which led to it being pulled.
“Due to an ongoing issue with this mornings update we have made the decision to roll the update back while we work on a fix,” Raven Software explained.
“We will update as soon as the issue is resolved and the update is relaunched.”
In a follow-up announcement earlier today, Raven confirmed that the Warzone update is now available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.
Interestingly, the Warzone update has an interesting new addition, as the recoil pattern of the XM4 has been smoothed.
“A Warzone update is being (re)released into the wild!” Raven continues. “Thank you for your patience while we resolved the issue.
We slipped in an additional Weapon change/note: XM4 (BOCW) – Recoil pattern smoothed.”
The remaining Call of Duty Warzone patch notes can be seen below.
• C58 (BOCW)
– Recoil increased slightly
• FARA 83 (BOCW)
– Recoil increased slightly
• XM4 (BOCW)
– Recoil pattern smoothed
• Nail Gun (BOCW)
– Maximum Damage range decreased by 39%
“The Nail Gun (BOCW) is and was meant to be a lethal, highly-mobile, short-range dominator. However, its Maximum Damage range far exceeded the lethal range of Shotguns, which it is intended to contest.
“The Nail Gun’s (BOCW) generous range and mobility allowed it to consistently dispatch foes at the same speed or faster than Shotguns at almost twice their effective range. While the Nail Gun’s (BOCW) pick rate has remained relatively low, we believe it would have been much higher were it more easily accessible.”
– Vertical Recoil Control decreased from 15% to 10%
– Horizontal Recoil Control decreased from 15% to 10%
“We are satisfied with the overall direction of adding Recoil Control to BOCW Barrels. However, we would like the effectiveness of a Weapon to grow with the wielder as they improve.
“We felt with the magnitude by which recoil was being reduced, there was hardly any room left to master the control of these Weapons. We want Weapons to reward you for learning their reload timings, recoil patterns, and bullets to kill.
“Your proficiency with a Weapon should be a journey that is worked toward with an equivalent payoff. When we make Weapons too effective and too easy to control, there is no journey of mastery and we can become disinterested with these Weapons much quicker – which we feel can be a disservice.
“Even after these changes, we understand that there may still be incredibly effective and easy to control Weapons when enough Recoil Control is applied through attachments. We will continue to target these Weapons as they arise to ensure that they strike a satisfactory balance between upside and downside.”
Good news for British holidaymakers is expected this week as more countries could be added to England’s travel green list. It is likely that Malta and the Balearic Islands will be put on the list.
A handful of African countries are expected to be put on the red list.
Travel is currently banned from these nations for all except British residents and nationals.
Malta was tipped to be added to the green list three weeks ago, during the Government’s last travel traffic system announcement.
However, its status on the amber list remained unchanged.
However, Britons returning from amber countries must quarantine for 10 days at home, and for 10 days in a hotel if coming from red countries.
This is regardless of travellers’ vaccination status, but this could change for double jabbed holidaymakers returning from amber nations in August.
Data analysed by the PC Agency from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and Our World in Data suggests that, according to the UK’s own criteria, multiple countries should be added to the green list today.
These include the US, Croatia, Canada, Italy, Germany, the Balearic Islands, Mexico, Jamaica, Finland, Poland, Morocco, Malta, Barbados, and Grenada.
The potential updates to the travel traffic light lists will be announced this afternoon.
When he’s not paying off a loan to Tom Nook, Liam likes to report on the latest Nintendo news and admire his library of video games. His favourite Nintendo character used to be a guitar-playing dog, but nowadays he prefers to hang out with Judd the cat.
Travel: Jon Sopel discusses possible US flight corridors
Brits were sorely disappointed at the beginning of this month when no new countries made their way onto the Government’s green list for travel, and Portugal was shifted to amber. This meant the countries holidaymakers could choose were few and far between, shifting hopes to the next travel review for summer getaways.
The traffic light system categorises countries as green, amber or red based on a series of tests and data.
Countries are looked at regarding the infection rates, hospitalisations, vaccination effort and ability to identify new variants.
Travel to green list countries does not require quarantine on arrival back into the UK, while amber and red list countries have far stricter rulings.
Amber listed arrivals must quarantine for 10 days, while those returning from red list countries must isolate in a government-mandated hotel for 10 days.
Green list update: 10 countries which could be added to green list this month (Image: GETTY)
So when is the next travel review, and which countries could make the cut?
The Government has pledged to review the travel lists every three weeks or so.
This would put the next review on Thursday, June 24, however, nothing has been confirmed as yet.
With few countries on the green list, many are hoping for a reversal at the next review to jet away on summer holidays.
However, the advice remains for Britons to not travel unless necessary – with Covid still a concern globally.
Green list update: With few countries on the green list, many are hoping for a reversal at the next review to jet away on summer holidays (Image: GETTY)
Environment Secretary George Eustice said on June 8: “I have no intention of travelling or going on a holiday abroad this summer”.
Speaking to Sky News Mr Eustice said: “Our advice has been don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.
“Obviously we had hoped, with these three categories that we had, we had hoped that situation would be improving in other parts of the world, that we’d be able to progressively add other countries to the green list.
“Sadly, that’s not the situation. We do have this new variant of concern first identified in India that is now cropping up in other countries, and we’ve just got to take a very cautious approach.”
However, there are some countries which have seen Covid levels drop significantly in recent weeks.
For comparison of the below figures, England’s case rate per 100,000 in the seven days to June 10 is 70.2, while more than 79 percent of the population have received the first vaccine dose.
Potential green list countries
Malta has an incredibly low case rate at just seven cases, and its Government is calling on allowing Brits to travel.
Writing on Facebook Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo expressed his disappointment of Malta not being added to the green list at the beginning of June.
He said: “The (British government) is ignoring scientific advice.
“It has taken a political decision not to allow travel anywhere, despite the pressure it faces from airlines, tourism operators and the people in general.”
Green list update: Italy could be added to the green list, but holidaymakers will have to wait and see (Image: GETTY)
The USA has a case rate of 31 per 100,000 people, more than halving the May 27 case rate of 71.4.
With the vaccine rollout happening at speed, holidays to the USA may not be far away.
And there are several key destinations to choose from, from Florida to California, Chicago to New York.
Italy has faced a tumultuous year and several waves of the virus, however, the country is now making headway.
Currently, Italy’s coronavirus rate is 27.5 with 45.4 percent of the population having received a single dose of the vaccine.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza said: “Currently, Italy has some of the best figures with regards to contagion levels.
“This is a promising result which allows us to look ahead with more confidence.
“We need to insist in this direction and act with caution and in a gradual way.
“More than ever, today it is essential to maintain the right habits, as not to jeopardize the sacrifices we have made.”
Green list update: Mexico has a case rate of just 16.1 over the past week per 100,000 of the population (Image: GETTY)
Germany is on the amber list, however, a recent dip in rate of infection and increase in vaccination rate could see it join green.
Currently, Germany has a coronavirus rate of 24.5 and a vaccination rate of 46.7 percent of the population.
With popular city break destinations like Berlin and Hamburg, it could be attractive to Brits wanting to head away.
The Canary Islands include top holiday spots like Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Tenerife.
The islands have a Covid rate of 38.4, with 47.8 percent of the population having received a first dose of the vaccine.
With sprawling beaches, bustling nightlife and rustic towns, it could be a return to the Canary Islands is on the cards soon.
Green list update: The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is actually one of the countries with the lowest cases of Covid worldwide (Image: GETTY)
Another hotspot which includes Majorca and Ibiza, the Balearics could be a green list destination soon.
On the islands, the rate of Covid is 21.7, while first dose vaccinations stand at 45.7 percent of the population.
Definitely, an ideal holiday destination with plenty of resorts to choose from, Mexico could be a go-to spot for holidaymakers if it makes the green list.
Mexico has a case rate of just 16.1 over the past week per 100,000 of the population.
However one negative could be the vaccination rate, with just 19.1 percent receiving a first dose so far.
The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is actually one of the countries with the lowest cases of Covid worldwide.
Data places Jamaica with a case rate of 14.4, however, like Mexico, there is a very low vaccination rate.
Just 5.3 percent of the population have received their first jab so far.
Finland has seen cases drop to 14.4 per 100,000 of the population, following Jamaica as one of the lowest rates globally.
And Finland’s vaccination rate is looking positive, with 48.8 percent of the population having received a first dose.
Finally, Poland has the lowest case rate on this list of just eight.
And 39.8 percent of the population have received their first vaccine, meaning it could be soon added to the green list.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to do more before the travel update by enabling more countries to make it onto the green list, thereby increasing the likelihood of people holidaying abroad. British travel industry bosses have called for more clarity on when more destinations will be added to the green list amid criticisms the Government has been too cautious in unlocking international travel. Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among just 12 destinations requiring no quarantine, while many other remote destinations on the list aren’t exactly preferred holiday hotspots for most people.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the move was “necessarily cautious”, but travel sector leaders warned it could “delay the industry’s recovery”.
EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.
“So we call on the Government to provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list so that consumers and airlines alike can plan for this summer.”
Airlines UK, an industry body that represents British flight carriers, urged Mr Johnson and his Government to make “major additions” to the list during the next review on June 3.
Chief executive Tim Aldersdale said: “This is a missed opportunity and, with so few countries making it onto the green list, represents a reopening of air travel in name only.
“By contrast, the EU has said vaccinated people will be able to travel without restrictions, which leaves the UK at risk of falling behind and not opening up International travel to key markets across Europe as well as the United States.”
General Secretary of pilots’ union BALPA, Brian Sutton accused the government of an “excess of caution”, adding that it is “extremely disappointing for everyone who works in the travel sector and the millions of people who are desperate to jet away on holiday or business”.
Mr Sutton added: “Almost all tourist hotspots in Europe including Spain, France and Greece are in the amber category, which is as good as red as far as most tourists are concerned, with a potential 10-day quarantine needed on return.
“Tourists are sat gazing at the amber light, revving their engines, desperate to travel sage in the knowledge that their jabs will protect them.
“The Government must flick those amber lights to green as soon as it possibly can.”
Mr Shapps said people “should not be travelling” to countries on the amber list, while holidaymakers who go against the advice must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests on arrival – all at their own cost.
The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, with four key tests to determine which category a country will fall into:
Percentage of the population that has been vaccinated Rate of infection Prevalence of variants of concern Access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Spain has long been the European favourite of UK holidaymakers. While the summer holiday period isn’t quite in full swing yet due to ongoing travel restrictions, keen travellers are eagerly awaiting for the announcement that Spain will be added to the green list for travel.
Those travelling from green list countries are not required to quarantine on their return, only needing to have proof of a negative test to travel.
Portugal is currently the only major viable tourist destination on that list.
Spain is still on the amber list of countries, meaning a quarantine period at home is required for travellers from the Mediterranean country.
On Times Radio, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said an amber list country was “not free and open travel” and “we ask people not to go to these places for holidays”.
Asked why holidays were still being sold to countries on the amber list, Mr Shapps said the Government had moved away from a system where things were “banned and illegal” to a situation where people were expected to “apply a bit of common sense”.
The UK Government has been widely criticised for what some see as confusing messaging, with travel to amber list countries, such as Spain, permitted, but at the same time being actively discouraged by ministers.
“I know it’s been an incredibly tough year and there are extreme circumstances where people will feel that it is the right thing to do – perhaps because they have a sick family member and some extreme situations where they’ll travel in the orange category.
“But by and large we are just asking people to be a little bit patient as other countries catch up with our world-leading vaccination programme and then people will be able to, I hope, travel.
“We are returning to a world which looks more normal, I hope.”