British holidaymakers face hefty Covid tests at borders as a result of delays in the development of vaccine passports for overseas travel, Downing Street admitted yesterday.
Number 10 said earlier this week that tweaks to the NHS app to display proof of vaccination were unlikely to be made in time for the lifting of the ban on foreign holidays on 17 May.
It means that many people in the UK with holidays booked for late spring will likely be required to take PCR tests at a cost of around £60 each despite having been vaccinated.
Aviation chiefs last night urged the government to abandon the “illogical” plans, warning that the government “risks closing the UK off from the rest of the world.”
In a joint article for the Daily Telegraph, the chief executives of British Airways, Heathrow, Easyjet, Manchester Airport Group and Jet2 accused ministers of an “overabundance of caution” compared to other EU countries that jeopardised British travellers’ holiday plans.
“Travel even from green countries will still require arrivals into the UK to take a ‘gold-standard’ PCR test… a huge barrier to travel for most people and despite assurances from the government that tests would be affordable,” they said.
Ministers are due to publish their travel green list tomorrow, which will outline the “handful” of countries Brits will be able to return to the UK from quarantine-free travel from 17 May.
It is widely expected that the green list will include no more than a dozen countries, with several papers speculating that Malta, Gibraltar and France could be added by the end of June.
Most of Europe, including popular destinations in France, Spain, Greece and Italy, will be amber, meaning holidaymakers will be required quarantine at home for 10 days on their return and take two PCR tests.