Foreign hols blow as Grant Shapps says quarantine free travel for double-jabbed Brits WON’T be ready for Freedom Day

TRAVEL to amber countries won't be relaxed for double-jabbed Brits in time for Freedom Day on July 19, Grant Shapps admitted today.

In a blow to foreign holiday hopes the Transport Secretary said it will be "complicated" to exempt the fully vaccinated from quarantine.

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And he warned in downbeat remarks that he's unlikely to "be able to say more" on how the system would work until next month at the earliest.

Ministers are looking at easing restrictions for Brits who have had both shots to open up more destinations for holidays.

Under the plan the double-jabbed would be able to treat amber countries as if they were on the green list.

That would mean they'd be able to replace the 10-day quarantine requirement with just a day 2 test on their return.

There had been hopes the scheme could "dovetail" with plans to drop all remaining domestic restrictions on July 21.

But asked about that prospect today, Mr Shapps replied: "It's unfortunately more complicated than that.

"One of the very big areas is what do you do if children are not going to be getting vaccinations?

"What do you do for a country that doesn't have any indication of vaccination status?

"There are complications in terms of how you would accept other people's vaccination certification.

"So there's there's quite a lot of interrelated and complicated decisions to make on this.

"Those are the things we'll be working through which I imagine will take longer than July 19 – particularly for people travelling here.

"So we'll probably focus in phase one on UK people who've been double vaccinated, and what that means for their travel into other areas."

Mr Shapps said opening up travel with the US would be a particularly tricky case because it has no uniform jabs passport.

Instead each of the 50 states has its own system for recording vaccinations – some of which are still done on paper rather than digitally.

He said: "I thought it was right just to give people, particularly the travel sector, and indication that we are looking at this.

"We are working with the scientists on this and we're thinking about how we can best apply it. I'll come back next month and be able to say more on it."

His remarks come after Brits were left facing foreign holiday confusion with all the new green list countries on the brink of turning amber again.

Mr Shapps refused to say three times whether he would personally book a holiday to one of the destinations being opened up.

And he admitted places like the Balearics and Madeira that are now on the green "watch list" have "marginal" figures and could soon be be downgraded.

The Transport Secretary said sun seekers should be aware that "things might change quickly" and make sure they have full insurance before booking a trip abroad.

And he suggested only those who have "flexibility" in their summer plans should go ahead and plan a foreign holiday this summer.

Of the 16 new green countries announced last night only Malta isn't on the "watch list" of destinations at risk of imminent downgrading.

Pressed on whether the others could quickly turn amber again, he said: "Of course we'll try not to do that.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to get through to the next review in three weeks' time before meeting to make any of those decisions.

"But be aware we can see that the situation is fast changing, we want to alert people. There are some concerns in these particular locations.

"And therefore be aware that when you book things may have to change, they may have to change at short notice."

He added: "We're not back in 2019 before the whole Coronavirus. So of course, there are things that you'll need to consider."

Mr Shapps said Malta is the safest bet for Brits because it has very high vaccine rates and top notch sequencing of new variants.

He warned other popular destinations like Mallorca, Ibiza, Minorca, and Madeira are "a little bit more marginal".

And he said people would have to look at the risks still involved in booking and "weigh up if that is going to work for them or not".

He said: "Each individual will look at their own situation. If people have flexibility then that obviously is going to be a bit easier this year.

"The scientist are concerned things could move quickly and we want everyone to be aware of our thinking so they can book accordingly."

His remarks come after sun seekers were given their biggest boost of the year last night as Ibiza, Majorca, Malta and some Caribbean islands turned green.

In a major win for summer holidays, a bumper list of new destinations where Brits can travel without quarantine will open up from next week.

it means from next Wednesday at 4am, passengers will be able jet back from the Balearics without hunkering down at home on return.

It opens up holidays to the immensely popular Spanish islands including Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formenta.

And stunning Caribbean hot spots like Grenada, Barbados, Bermuda and Antigua have also gone green.

But Jamaica stays amber, and package hols destination the Dominican Republic is one of six countries moved to the red list.

The announcement has been welcomed by cash-starved airlines, travel companies and holidaymakers longing for a post-pandemic retreat.

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