UK Covid live news: ministers set to announce additions to green list for international travel

Good morning. This afternoon ministers are due to announce their review of the traffic light system for international travel, which places countries on either the red list (high Covid risk, and a virtual ban), the amber list (medium risk, with people subject to quarantine on return) or the green list (low risk and suitable for holidays, with people not subject to quarantine on their return). As of this morning there are only 11 places on the green list, and none of them are favourite summer holiday destinations for Brits.

According to some of the news reports previewing the announcement, Malta, Madeira and the Balearic Islands (ie, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) are either certain or possible additions to the green list today. But government sources have been playing down the prospects of a major opening up.

Ministers have also been considering whether to change the rules for amber list countries, so that people who have been double-vaccinated would no longer have to be quarantined on return, but it seems that decision has not yet been finalised and that we may have to wait until next week for an announcement.

This morning George Eustice, the environment secretary, stressed that the government would be taking a cautious approach to opening up travel. He told Sky News:

I want us to get back to a position where we can support those who want to travel to do so. Nobody likes the draconian restrictions we have had to put in place over this last year as we have wrestled with the pandemic.

So, yes, we want to get to a position where we can support people who want to travel to be able to do so, but it is difficult.

We are being cautious because the biggest threat still to our progress against this pandemic and the great progress we have made on vaccination is that there will be another variant somewhere that maybe hadn’t been properly detected in another country and that that variant is more resistant to vaccination.

That’s the great challenge that we have got, that’s why we are proceeding with caution.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the UK, gives evidence to the Lords European affairs committee.

11:30am: Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, head of the UK mission to the EU, speaks at a UK in a Changing Europe event.

12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.

12pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, takes questions in the Scottish parliament.

1pm: Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, takes questions in the Lords.

2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.

Afternoon: Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is due to announce the results of the review of the traffic light system for travel.

Also Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, is meeting Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, at the British/Irish intergovernmental conference in Dublin.

Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently and that is likely to be the case today. For more coronavirus developments, do follow our global Covid live blog.

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