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Now the minister says you can visit friends and family in “amber” countries even though the government is carrying the message “do not travel”
People can travel to amber list countries to visit friends and family, a cabinet minister said in an apparent weakening of government advice not to travel. Environment minister George Eustice said the government had no intention of stopping travel altogether as thousands of people flew out of the UK on up to 150 flights to amber list countries like Greece, France, Spain and Italy on Monday. “The reason … we have the Amber List is because there will be reasons why people feel they have to travel to visit family or friends,” Eustice told BBC Radio Four’s Today program. “You can travel to these countries, but then you have to adhere to the quarantine when you return and carry out two tests after you return. People can travel to these areas but then have to submit to quarantine requirements. “His tone was in sharp contrast to Matt Hancock, the Minister of Health, who reiterated on Monday that people should not go to Amber Lands. “If it’s not on a green list, you shouldn’t go there unless you have an exceptional reason,” he told MPs. Twelve countries or territories, including Portugal and Gibraltar, are on the green list for quarantine-free travel abroad. The rest of Europe and North America have been labeled amber and will require home isolation for up to ten days upon his return to the UK. 43 countries are on the red list, which is why those arriving in the UK must be quarantined in a hotel. The 150 flights departing the UK for amber destinations yesterday may have carried more than 20,000 passengers. On Monday, 31-year-old Nathan Priestley of Wokingham told Berkshire Sky News at Heathrow Airport that he was going to Corfu, which is on the Amber List, with five friends. When asked if he minded being quarantined after returning from the Greek island to England, he said, “For me, I work from home right now, so it’s neither here nor there.” The software vendor said he had no health concerns about his trip when asked, “I’m still pretty young and pretty active. I didn’t do anything wrong with myself, nothing underlying so a negative test for me and gone you go. “Ryan Douglas, 77, a retired engineer who flew to Malaga, Spain, said he would have” no problem “getting into quarantine on his return. Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Times Radio on Sunday, “The countries on the red and amber lists are places you shouldn’t go unless you have an absolutely compelling reason.” He then repeated the message in the House of Commons on Monday, calling on Huw Merriman, the Tory chairman of the Transport Select Committee, to criticize. Mr. Merriman said to Mr. Hancock, “You have effectively just turned the amber list to red. What’s the point of having a passport? “