Travel expert issues urgent holiday warning over new 'traffic light' system

As travel restrictions are set to be relaxed this week, holidays are finally back on the cards. The Foreign Office is set to relax its advice "against all essential travel" to allow holidays to nations where the risk of contracting coronavirus is deemed low. Countries with low and reducing rates of infection will be graded by the Joint Biosecurity Centre with either 'amber' or 'green' status.

Travel restrictions to the United States may continue until winter
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This will allow UK holidaymakers to return home without having to self-isolate for 14 days.

The list of countries is expected to be published by Wednesday 1 July, with restrictions lifted as soon as July 6. It is anticipated to include France, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey - but possibly not Portugal due to a recent spike in infection. For many people, this means a trip abroad is now possible after months spent in lockdown.

Travel expert issues urgent holiday warning over new 'traffic light' systemThe Portuguese government is waiting to see if its country will be rated 'green'

But for Brits who have booked a holiday in a country rated red, which could include holiday favourites like the United States, the current "no-go" rules will continue to apply.

Now travel expert Simon Calder has issued vital advice for UK travellers whose holidays could be affected. Major tour operators TUI and Jet2 have said they will not travel to countries if the Foreign Office advises against it or if there are quarantine rules in place. Mr Calder says smaller tour firms are likely to do the same and customers will be due full refunds.

But he warned that travellers who have booked flights and accommodation separately are in a difficult position. He explained: "There is every chance that the flight will still be operating: government advice does not need to be followed by airlines. "If the plane does depart the airline is legally entitled to refuse a refund even though you have compelling reasons not to go - such as work or family commitments.

"Hoteliers, car-rental firms and other providers can also stick to their terms and conditions." It comes as the Home Secretary warned today that 'air bridges', which would allow for quarantine-free travel, will not be introduced "overnight." Priti Patel told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "In terms of the countries where this will be possible, there will be an announcement in the next few days ahead."

Ms Patel confirmed negotiations with countries deemed safe for travel were continuing, adding: "These measures won't come in overnight.

"They will take time because some of this will be down to negotiation, discussion with certain countries but the principle around sharing data, travel data, the locator form that the Home Office has created, to capture a lot of this information, will absolutely still remain.

"We have to keep on top of this disease."

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