Frustration Mounts at British ‘Confusing’ Traffic-Light System
For the government’s latest assessment, on July 14, industry experts expected countries such as Italy, Germany and Canada to be moved to the ‘green list’, and Turkey and UAE be upgraded to “orange” from “red,” based on the number of cases and country immunization rates. But only Bulgaria and Hong Kong have gone green. No country has been removed from the red list since the start of the traffic light system.
The government has dismissed criticism of its cautious approach, saying there is a need to protect the country’s successful vaccination program as it grapples with a new wave of Covid cases, which is due to the highly Delta variant. contagious.
“Our international travel policy is guided by an overwhelming priority – public health,” a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said, speaking anonymously in accordance with government policy, in an email. “Traffic light assignments are based on a series of factors, including genomic surveillance capacity, risk of transmission, and variants of concern. “
UK tour operators have called for an immediate overhaul of the system, saying the lack of transparency and sudden changes have wreaked havoc among consumers and businesses and could endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs.
More than 300,000 jobs were lost in the UK travel sector last year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, and another 218,000 jobs are at serious risk if international travel remains limited, he said.
“As the national vacation market reap the benefits of ‘Freedom Day’, with vacations booming, we are not out of the woods yet,” said Virginia Messina, senior vice president of the WTTC.
“International travel remains either prohibited or extremely difficult for many,” she added. “This means that the door to important overseas travel effectively remains closed.”
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