Fears ‘Nepal variant’ could scupper holidays as travel list set to update

Fears 'Nepal variant' could scupper holidays as travel list set to update

A new strain of Covid, thought to have come from Nepal, has put foreign holidays under threat, it has been reported.

Travel abroad to go on holiday was only allowed again in mid-May as part of the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

Brit tourists must obey testing and quarantine guidelines which are different depending on the country, using a traffic light system.

The system is under regular review and ministers are poised to announce the fresh changes and the new categories for countries including popular tourists destinations.

But reports now say that a new strain of coronavirus could have spread into some European countries, therefore jeopardising the relaxation of travel restrictions there.

Health workers in Nepal
Nepal has been on the red list since travel was re-opened

The Mail Online reports that foreign holidays could be under threat because ministers are worried about a new variant believed to have originated in Nepal.

But a member of the Government’s SAGE committee of experts reportedly said officials should not be overly concerned and added: “There are thousands of variants. This is a virus that is changing all the time.”

Tory peer Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, chairman of the Airport Operators’ Association, said: “How many more variants have we got to be worried about? What matters is data and the success of our vaccination programme.”

The publication claims that there are fears Portugal could lose its status on the green travel list as the new variant may have been detected there.

Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, Israel, Iceland, Gibraltar, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Faroe Islands and the Falkland Islands are all currently on the green list of countries.

Travellers to these countries will not have to quarantine on their return to the UK.

Nepal is currently on the red list, meaning those returning from the region will have to quarantine in a hotel as well as take Covid tests.

Asked earlier whether there may be more countries added to the green list soon, where there are no requirements to quarantine on returning to the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “You’ve got to wait and see what the Joint Biosecurity Centre say and what the recommendations are about travel.

“We’re going to try … to allow people to travel, as I know that many people want to, but we’ve got to be cautious and we’ve got to continue to put countries on the red list, on the amber list, when that is necessary.”

When the traffic light system was originally announced, it was confirmed the rules would be reviewed every three weeks.

It’s believed officials are hoping to announce the first update on Thursday to take effect on Monday June 7.