Minister Defends The Need For An Amber Watch List

The minister for digital infrastructure Matt Warman recently defended the need for an amber watch list. According to him, such a list for England would help people to make “informed decisions”. Labour recently made the argument that an amber watch list would only make people more confused over which countries to visit. People entering from a country that’s on the list would need to quarantine themselves in a hotel on their own dime. A country would be put on the list if there are reasons to believe that the country’s coronavirus situation is about to explode, causing it to be reclassified as red.

“The point of the watch list that you refer to is to try and give people a sense of the direction of travel that a country is going in, it’s to try and provide people with as much information as possible when they make those decisions about where they might want to go on holiday.” Warman said adding “of course it is … great news to be opening up, that people who are coming back from amber-list countries don’t need to be quarantining, that’s a good sign of the direction that this country is going in thanks to the vaccination programme, but we do have to bear in mind that other countries are in a range of other positions.”

The Labour Party chair, Anneliese Dodds responded to Warman’s comments by mentioning that it looks like the government was in “disarray” again over the coronavirus traffic light system. She also asked the government to be more transparent regarding the data it uses to make such decisions. “We don’t want to see additional confusion and chaos here … We’ve been here before, we’ve been in this chaos before, and yet government seems to be providing just more of the same, more confusion, more extra categories,” Dodds told Times Radio. “What we’ve said for months as the Labour party is that the Conservative government need to be open and transparent, they need to be actually publishing the data that they’re taking their decisions on. They need to be also seeking that agreement around vaccine passports internationally that they’ve said they’re trying to do, but we’ve seen no evidence of progress there. If there’s more openness, I think that’s going to build trust in the system. The problem is, right now holidaymakers just don’t know who to believe and we’ve got … seem to have the chancellor briefing against the prime minister in the Sunday papers. That’s not building confidence, ultimately, in the system.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been under a lot of pressure lately regarding the country’s restrictions on foreign travel. Rishi Sunak has even written to Johnson demanding changes to the country’s quarantine policy. The Sunday Times was able to see the letter in which Sunak mentioned that the country’s border policy was “out of step with our international competitors”. He also mentioned how little time there is left to save the summer for sectors that rely on tourism. Heathrow Airport’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye asked the British government to ease travel rules, especially for travellers from France. He also mentioned that the government should expand the list of countries from where travellers don’t have to self-isolate.