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FINAL flight out of Cancun: Last British tourists land at Gatwick with just an HOUR to spare

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The last British tourists out of Cancun have been spotted landing at Gatwick with just an hour to spare before the Mexico is placed on the UK’s red list forcing them to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. 

Holidaymakers were seen at the airport after booking one of the few remaining airline seats to the UK before this morning’s deadline. 

And romantic husband Luke McGovern went the extra mile as he picked up his wife Lupita from the airport with a large bouquet of roses at 3am.  

The returning passengers spoke of their anger at having to spend thousands of pounds to flee the country in a ‘panic’.

Romantic husband Luke McGovern went the extra mile as he picked up his wife Lupita from the airport with a large bouquet of roses at 3am

Mr McGovern came to Gatwick to pick up his wife Lupita after she managed to make it back to the UK from Cancun before Mexico was placed on the red list

Mr McGovern came to Gatwick to pick up his wife Lupita after she managed to make it back to the UK from Cancun before Mexico was placed on the red list 

Holidaymakers were seen at the airport after booking one of the few remaining airline seats to the UK before this morning's deadline

Holidaymakers were seen at the airport after booking one of the few remaining airline seats to the UK before this morning’s deadline

One holidaymaker embraces a loved one as she arrived back at Gatwick from Cancun

One holidaymaker embraces a loved one as she arrived back at Gatwick from Cancun 

The returning passengers spoke of their anger at having to spend thousands of pounds to flee the country in a 'panic'

The returning passengers spoke of their anger at having to spend thousands of pounds to flee the country in a ‘panic’

Clutching a Sombero hat as a memento of her visit Zoe Evans said she was ‘absolutely gutted’ at having to end her holiday to make sure she would not have to spend ten days at an airport hotel in self isolation.

With her son Daniel, 28, and his girlfriend, they had paid £2,100 to make sure they were on one of the last British Airways flights back to Gatwick Airport.

‘When we tried to book the flight home the price was an extra £500 and then suddenly it went up to more than a £1,000 each, said Zoe, 50.

‘We were able to get three tickets for £700 each. We only lost one day of our holiday but I could not afford to spend 10 days in an hotel in quarantine as I have business to run.

46313813 9873489 image a 36 1628406259595 Zoe Evans holiday with son Daniel and his girlfriend Elena Alberghini was cut short by one day (pictured wearing sombreros in Gatwick airport)

Zoe Evans holiday with son Daniel and his girlfriend Elena Alberghini was cut short by one day (pictured wearing sombreros in Gatwick airport)

‘It was a real panic to get on the flight as I knew I could not afford to miss another ten days of work.’

Elena Aberghini, 26, said she had been sad to end her holiday early and said there had been an anxious wait to see if they could get on the British Airways flight.

‘It was touch and go if we could get a ticket. The price kept on going up all the time.’

Advertising executive Peter Howlett, 53, cut short his planned five week stay in Mexico to spend time with his wife Ivonne’s family.

He said:’ We had intended to spend five weeks in Mexico, but had only been there two weeks when we heard the announcement that it was on the red list

‘Like many others I had to re-book the tickets. It just seems incredible that people have been given three days notice to get out of the country. I had to get back as I have to work and could not afford to spend my time in a hotel in quarantine.’

Peter, from Herne Hill, south London, said many others of BA2022 from Cancun had similar tales of a mad rush to make sure they could secure a flight home.

Peter Howlett, 53, cut short his planned five week stay in Mexico to spend time with his wife Ivonne¿s family. Pictured: Peter, wife Ivonne and their daughter

Peter Howlett, 53, cut short his planned five week stay in Mexico to spend time with his wife Ivonne’s family. Pictured: Peter, wife Ivonne and their daughter

Many had cut short dream trips to the popular tourist destination of Cancun and spoke of the ¿panic¿ to try and book one of the few remaining airline seats to the UK before Sunday¿s 4am deadline. Pictured: People arrive back to the UK at Gatwick airport from Mexico

Many had cut short dream trips to the popular tourist destination of Cancun and spoke of the ‘panic’ to try and book one of the few remaining airline seats to the UK before Sunday’s 4am deadline. Pictured: People arrive back to the UK at Gatwick airport from Mexico

Students William Coatman and his girlfriend Demee Elliott paid £2,000 to guarantee a ticket on the BA flight.

‘I think everyone who has had to come home is angry, It just seems so unnecessary and there did not need to be the panic that was caused.

‘We had been travelling around Mexico for six weeks, We were due to fly back on Thursday, but cannot afford to pay over £2,000 for a stay in a hotel here in the UK.

‘Luckily we had managed to get most of our trip completed, but I’m not happy at having to pay out all that money to come home early.’

Other passengers were scathing of the Government’s decision to put Mexico on the red list over fears of the spread of the virus.

‘It just makes me so angry,’ said a holidaymaker in her 50s.

Holidaymakers embraced other as they arrived back in the UK from their trip to Mexico Many people spoke of their anger at having to spend thousands of pounds to flee the country

Holidaymakers embraced other as they arrived back in the UK from their trip to Mexico and spoke of their anger at having to spend thousands of pounds to flee the country

Students William Coatman and his girlfriend Demee Elliott (pictured) paid £2,000 to guarantee a ticket on the BA flight

Students William Coatman and his girlfriend Demee Elliott (pictured) paid £2,000 to guarantee a ticket on the BA flight

‘I just don’t get it why Mexico has been singled out. Everyone we spoke to, all the taxi drivers, have been vaccinated. I felt very safe.

‘There just does not seem to be any reason why Mexico had suddenly gone on the red list. It is a bit like the decision to stop people travelling to France by making them isolate when they came back.

‘Why did they have to give just a few days’ notice. If they had said there is a week to return it would have made it much simpler.’

An estimated 5,000 British holidaymakers are thought to be in Mexico, with the resort of Cancun a favoured destination.

British Airways has scheduled extra flights to bring home holidaymakers before the 4am deadline on Sunday.

There are two remaining flights out of Mexico – one at 2.25am from Mexico City and another at 3.05am from Cancun. 

One flight that was due to land past the 4am deadline has had it landing time brought forward so it touches down at Gatwick 55 minutes before travellers have to comply with the red list rules.

An estimated 5,000 British holidaymakers are thought to be in Mexico, with the resort of Cancun a favoured destination. Pictured: Holidaymakers enter Gatwick Airport after landing from Mexico

An estimated 5,000 British holidaymakers are thought to be in Mexico, with the resort of Cancun a favoured destination. Pictured: Holidaymakers enter Gatwick Airport after landing from Mexico

One flight that was due to land past the 4am deadline has had it landing time brought forward so it touches down at Gatwick 55 minutes before travellers have to comply with the red list rules. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick today

One flight that was due to land past the 4am deadline has had it landing time brought forward so it touches down at Gatwick 55 minutes before travellers have to comply with the red list rules. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick today

The BA flight arriving at Gatwick was a scheduled service and was packed with every seat taken, according to passengers.

One said:’ There were many on the flight who had already been booked to leave, but there were others just relived to be getting out.

‘People were swapping stories and I was told there was one couple who had only been in Mexico about two days when they decided to leave.

‘It is crazy, and I don’t know how the Government get away with messing people around so much. They really do not want anyone to go on holiday.

A businessman who gave his name as Foud said he had paid £1,000 to leave Cancun and return to his home in London.

A businessman who gave his name as Foud (pictured) said he had paid £1,000 to leave Cancun and return to his home in London

A businessman who gave his name as Foud (pictured) said he had paid £1,000 to leave Cancun and return to his home in London 

The BA flight arriving at Gatwick was a scheduled service and was packed with every seat taken, according to passengers. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick Airport today

The BA flight arriving at Gatwick was a scheduled service and was packed with every seat taken, according to passengers. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick Airport today

‘I had originally planned to fly back through Canada, but then a seat came up on the BA flight so I decided to pay the £1,000 for the ticket.

‘I cannot afford to be off work for 10 days and the thought of staying in a hotel with the rubbish food did not appeal to me.’

Foud, who works in investment, said he had cut his holiday short by two days.

‘I just don’t get it. I’m double jabbed and so were most people I met in Mexico, What is the problem,? Are we ever going to get back to normal and just live with the virus or keep on running away all the time.’

Mother of two Alice Langmead said she was relieved to have left Cancun as the thought of spending two weeks in an airport hotel with her two children filled her with dread.

‘I have seen the stories and seen pictures of the food, and I could just not stand that. I think it us cruel to be forced to stay in a hotel room for 10 days when they could easily just get people to stay at home and get tested every day,

Mother of two Alice Langmead said she was relieved to have left Cancun as the thought of spending two weeks in an airport hotel with her two children filled her with dread. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick Airport today

Mother of two Alice Langmead said she was relieved to have left Cancun as the thought of spending two weeks in an airport hotel with her two children filled her with dread. Pictured: Arrivals from Mexico in Gatwick Airport today

‘It makes me so angry that people are still having their lives disrupted so much.

British Airways has slashed ticket prices from Mexico to London to just £257 as thousands of Britons are scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday to avoid a ten-day stay in a UK quarantine hotel costing £1,750 per person.

The airline has cut the prices of two flights landing at London Gatwick at 12.35am and 3.05am on Sunday, just hours before the 4am deadline, to a mere £257 ‘rescue fare’ amid the rush for Britons to return home.

Around 6,000 panicked British holidaymakers scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday, when Mexico will be placed on the red list, to avoid a ten-day stay in a UK quarantine hotel costing £1,750 per person.

To make matters worse, the cost of hotel quarantine will increase from August 12, with the price for single adult travellers rising from £1,750 to £2,285 and a second adult paying £1,430 – more than double the current rate of £650.

British Airways slashed the prices of their tickets from Mexico to London to just £257 as thousands of Britons are scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday. The flights are advertised at £95 ($140), totalling £257 with tax added at checkout

British Airways slashed the prices of their tickets from Mexico to London to just £257 as thousands of Britons are scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday. The flights are advertised at £95 ($140), totalling £257 with tax added at checkout

As well as slashing the costs of the flights arriving in on Sunday morning, British Airways raised the costs of other available flights from £800 to around £1,000 while rebooking existing customers. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Heathrow on Friday

As well as slashing the costs of the flights arriving in on Sunday morning, British Airways raised the costs of other available flights from £800 to around £1,000 while rebooking existing customers. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Heathrow on Friday

The decision to place Mexico on the red list also reflects worries about a new variant which originated in Colombia and which has concerned British scientists. 

On the British Airways website, the two last Saturday night flights are advertised at just £95, with this cost rising to a total of £257 after tax is added, a considerable discount from the usual £800 fares.

A source told MailOnline: ‘We want to help other people who are stranded so rolled out a rescue fare.’ 

As well as slashing the costs of the flights arriving in the early hours of Sunday morning, British Airways also raised the costs of other available flights from £800 to around £1,000 while rebooking existing customers.

Before cutting the costs, the airline raised the flight prices to make sure the customer service teams could rebook existing passengers free of charge, without the seats being snatched up by other eager travellers looking for a bargain trip.

The British Airways flight from Cancun arriving in Gatwick at 3.05am was originally due to land at 9am on Sunday, after the 4am deadline, but the airline altered the arrival time in a bid to get customers home before the cut-off time.

Around 6,000 UK holidaymakers are scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday, when Mexico will be placed on the red list, to avoid a ten-day stay in a quarantine hotel costing £1,750 per person. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Heathrow on Friday

Around 6,000 UK holidaymakers are scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday, when Mexico will be placed on the red list, to avoid a ten-day stay in a quarantine hotel costing £1,750 per person. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Heathrow on Friday

A spokesperson for British Airways said: ‘We have kept our prices on rescue flights from Cancun to London higher than usual over the last day or two, to allow our customer service teams time to prioritise and re-book as many of our existing British Airways and BA Holidays customers free of charge, as possible.

‘We still have two flights scheduled to land into Gatwick tomorrow which are timed to arrive before the Government’s 4am deadline and there are some seats available.

‘We would like to now help as many Britons as possible to get home to the UK, so we have introduced an emergency ‘rescue fare’ dropped to the lowest possible price to cover our costs. 

‘Our remaining seats are now selling on our website for $358 (equivalent to £257 approximately).’ 

Meanwhile, a nurse today revealed how her dream £8,000 holiday to Cancun turned to disaster as she landed in Mexico after other panicked passengers told her the Government had decided to turn the country red as they crossed the Atlantic.

Speaking from Cancun, where she is with her family, Mrs Dean told Good Morning Britain: ‘There was nothing to suggest that Mexico would be going on the red list and we found out after a really long flight from other passengers. It was complete devastation’.

The airline has cut the prices of two flights landing at London Gatwick at 12.35am and 3.05am on Sunday, just hours before the 4am deadline, to a mere £257 'rescue fare' amid the rush for Britons to return home (stock image)

The airline has cut the prices of two flights landing at London Gatwick at 12.35am and 3.05am on Sunday, just hours before the 4am deadline, to a mere £257 ‘rescue fare’ amid the rush for Britons to return home (stock image)

When asked if she had taken the risk to go abroad on holiday she said: ‘I understand, but we’ve had this holiday booked for over a year and have been keeping an eye on the situation daily in terms of cases. Yes we could have gone closer to home but this was our dream holiday and there was nothing to suggest this would happen’. Her young son Jack said: ‘I was in complete shock. Before that I was really excited’.

Aaron Stewart, from Glasgow, is in Mexico City with his wife and newborn baby until August 20 – but says the rule change means he is stuck. Mr Stewart, a self-employed networking engineer, told the i newspaper: ‘It’s time that I can’t take off work because it’s going to cost me much more than that figure. I might have to pay clients back, and I’m talking about £10,000 here. Or I just hang out in Mexico and hope that the restrictions might be lifted.’ 

He added: ‘The whole thing’s absolutely ridiculous and I am so bitterly angry because there’s no logic in this whatsoever’. 

British Airways said its teams had been ‘working through the night to arrange as many additional seats out of Mexico as possible to help get Britons home’. But there is unlikely to be enough seats for all those desperate to return as is the case of trust officer Claudia Rattray.

Mrs Rattray, 44, told of ‘shock and devastation’ after landing in Mexico to discover the country had been placed on the red list while she was flying. 

She and her daughters Ivanna, 15, and Summer, 14, had travelled from their home in Jersey in order to visit family. She said: ‘My husband spoke to British Airways to see if we were able to get flights for tonight or tomorrow… and there’s no seats available, nothing.’

Rebecca Dean and her family are among the thousands of British holidaymakers now scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday to avoid a ten-day stay in a UK quarantine hotel

Rebecca Dean and her family are among the thousands of British holidaymakers now scrambling to get home before 4am on Sunday to avoid a ten-day stay in a UK quarantine hotel

Pictured: Claudia Rattray talks to BBC via video alongside her daughters. Claudia and her two daughters arrived in Mexico city today to learn the country had been upgraded to the red list

Pictured: Claudia Rattray talks to BBC via video alongside her daughters. Claudia and her two daughters arrived in Mexico city today to learn the country had been upgraded to the red list

Ayo Faley, a call handler of NHS Test and Trace in London, arrived in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday morning for her holiday, and plans to continue her trip as planned and pay for quarantine when she returns to the UK Aaron Stewart is relocating his family to Edinburgh in late August and will now have to pay for them all to quarantine on arrival.

Ayo Faley (left), a call handler of NHS Test and Trace in London, arrived in Cancun, Mexico, on Thursday morning for her holiday, and plans to continue her trip as planned and pay for quarantine when she returns to the UK. Aaron (right) is relocating his family to Edinburgh in late August and will now have to pay for them all to quarantine on arrival

Covid test centers are seen around the Mexican resorts of Tulum and Cancun as the UK is set to place the country on its red list from Sunday.

Covid test centers are seen around the Mexican resorts of Tulum and Cancun as the UK is set to place the country on its red list from Sunday.

Welcome home: Families reunited at Heathrow today as thousands race home to the UK to beat Sunday's 4am deadline after which they would be forced to stay for 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of  up to £2,285

Welcome home: Families reunited at Heathrow today as thousands race home to the UK to beat Sunday’s 4am deadline after which they would be forced to stay for 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of  up to £2,285

Thousands of British holidaymakers in Mexico are scrambling to get home after travel restrictions changed at short notice.

From 4am on Sunday, those returning home from Mexico will have to quarantine in a designated hotel for ten days.

UK delayed asking EU to accept NHS vaccine passport app

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

UK tourists may face further travel issues in Europe this summer after officials waited until last week to ask the EU to accept the NHS vaccine passport app.

UK diplomats in Brussels have been briefing for weeks that both sides were edging closer to a deal. But senior European Commission sources said that Britain only formally applied for the app to be recognised across the 27-member bloc on July 28.

‘It should take a few weeks for the process to be completed, but I have no crystal ball,’ said one EU official.

A British government spokesman refused to deny the July 28 date. EU certificates are not automatically available to UK nationals due to Brexit.

A deal with the EU executive would legally oblige all 27 EU countries to recognise the NHS Covid app, with Britain accepting the EU’s digital Covid certificate in return.

The UK Government said there were ‘constructive technical talks between our experts and the EU’ before the application.

The cost of a flight back to Britain was being sold for between £2,000 and £4,000 yesterday as many tried to beat the deadline. There are between 5,000 and 6,000 British holidaymakers in Mexico currently. 

In a further blow, the cost of hotel quarantine will increase from August 12, with the price for single adult travellers rising from £1,750 to £2,285 and a second adult paying £1,430 – more than double the current rate of £650.

One couple have been forced to cut their honeymoon from two weeks to two days.

Student Joe Coward, 29, said: ‘We feel… incredibly sad and frustrated that the time that should’ve been spent enjoying being newlyweds has been ruined.’ 

NHS worker Ayo Faley, 24, also only discovered she had just three days left to return home to avoid quarantine after landing in Cancun yesterday. 

She said she was ‘absolutely distraught’ but plans to complete her holiday. She asked: ‘How are [the Government] planning to help individuals who have found themselves in a situation like this?’ 

Claire, 30, from south London, said: ‘I had access to the Wifi so I found out in mid air.

‘I just wanted to grab the tannoy and tell everyone because I could see all these families looking forward to their holiday and it was obvious they didn’t know.

‘It’s crazy the lack of notice. I had no inkling Mexico was about to go on the red list.’

Another tweeted: ‘Landing in Mexico to find out it’s been added to the red list whilst I was up in the air, has got to be one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced.’ 

Father-of-two David Hing, 40, arrived in Mexico with his wife and children aged four and seven on July 31. They were supposed to stay until August 21 – five days before the travel list is looked at again.  

Mr Hing told MailOnline: ‘We knew the risks and while at the moment it seems like a bad dream and is very stressful and I’ve been up all night looking at alternative options, we are just going to try to enjoy the holiday. 

‘It broke my heart when my two little ones said they wanted to stay on holiday and would lend us money if we needed it.

‘The notice period doesn’t really give long enough to make changes especially when it’s hard to get through and talk to anyone at the airlines. 

Passenger pushes luggage-laden airport trolley through Terminal 5 at Heathrow after landing back in UK Passenger drags a pair of suitcases out of the arrivals area of Heathrow Termainl 5

The slog back home: Grant Shapps said up to 6,000 Britons are currently in Mexico, after ministers warned they would place the country onto its travel red-list at 4am on Sunday.  

Those who have received both doses have unrestricted entry - meaning they do not have to quarantine or provide a negative test result - when travelling to Germany, France, Spain, Latvia, Romania and Georgia. But those who are not double-jabbed are still subject to some regulations upon arrival and, in the cases of Germany and Slovakia, can be denied entry

Those who have received both doses have unrestricted entry – meaning they do not have to quarantine or provide a negative test result – when travelling to Germany, France, Spain, Latvia, Romania and Georgia. But those who are not double-jabbed are still subject to some regulations upon arrival and, in the cases of Germany and Slovakia, can be denied entry

46293005 9867825 image a 12 1628233323217 46313813 9867825 image a 13 1628233323218 The price of the only direct flight from Mexico City to London before Mexico moves to the red list has soared to a staggering £6,878

The price of the only direct flight from Mexico City to London before Mexico moves to the red list has soared to a staggering £6,878

‘The images of the food and hotels do not seem like they are worth the cost so that’s why we are going to try and fly back somewhere else first. I feel sorry for the people who were already on the flight from the UK and hope they can make alternative arrangements.’

A young couple cut short their honeymoon in Mexico from two weeks to two days, after they discovered the new restrictions upon landing in Mexico early on Thursday morning.

Joe Coward, 29, said: ‘Basically we touched down to find that our two-week honeymoon, which had already been rearranged several times, was going to be a two-day visit. We’ve arranged a flight for tomorrow and will be spending today getting ready to turn right around and go home.’ 

Mexico is in the grip of a third wave of Covid and on Wednesday another 611 deaths were reported – taking the total number of deaths due to the virus to 242,547. 

Another 611 deaths were also reported and the country has recorded a total of 2,901,094 infections and 242,547 deaths.

The government has said the real number of cases is likely significantly higher, and separate data published recently suggested the actual death toll is at least 60% above the confirmed figure. 

  • Seven European countries: Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia will turn green from Sunday 4am.
  • India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will switch from red to amber, meaning arrivals from those countries will no longer have to spend 11 nights at pricey quarantine hotels;
  • But Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte are joining the red list. Up  to 6,000 Brits are on holiday in Mexico and now scrambling to get back this weekend to avoid quarantine hotels – with not enough seats to get them home;
  • Hotel quarantine costs are to soar to more than £200 a night from a week today. From next Thursday, the price will jump to £2,285 for a single person. Additional adults and teenagers will be charged £1,430 – more than double the current £650 rate;

46316185 0 image a 6 1628402906331 46294109 9867825 image a 6 1628240860174

The decision to place Mexico on the red list also reflects worries about a new variant which originated in Colombia and which has concerned British scientists. 

Passengers arriving from Mexico City at Heathrow Terminal 5 today slammed the new rules.

Leidy Corrales, 35, a dental assistant, who was travelling back to Switzerland from Playa de Carmen in Mexico, said: ‘I’m travelling back to Geneva with my two children Joshua and Carla and my husband.

‘Putting Mexico on the red list is not logical because when you go there, everything is normal, they are taking all the same protections – masks, hand sanitisation and social distancing.

‘The quarantine costs are just unreasonable – I think when people go on holiday, they should just have to do two tests and only quarantine if it’s positive.

‘Mexico is a tourist hotspot and people here like going to hot places, but the government doesn’t want people to go on holiday, they want to control them.

‘It’s like a dictatorship of security in a democracy, because they keep changing the rules and no-one can afford that.’

Her husband Denys added: ‘We’re so happy to have been able to enjoy our holiday without having to pay for a hotel on the way back, thank God.’ 

Changing travel rules: What you need to know 

There have been more changes to the rules for international travel, with some popular destinations climbing the ladder to the green list and others sliding down on to the red.

The Government has also hiked the price of hotel quarantine, meaning a trip to a red list country is a pricey affair.

Here is the state of play for your summer holidays.

Is there any good news?

Seven countries will be added to England’s green travel list from 4am on Sunday, the Government announced on Wednesday.

Anyone returning from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.

France has also lost its confusing ‘amber plus’ status, which meant all travellers and not just those who are not fully vaccinated had to self-isolate for 10 days upon return.

Our nearest neighbour had been in a category all by itself because of concerning levels of the beta variant of Covid-19 there.

Is that it?

Sadly yes, but it just got slightly easier to visit India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as they have been downgraded from the red to the amber list, meaning arrivals will no longer have to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel.

There are currently 24 countries on the green list, including the popular holiday destinations of Barbados, Croatia and Malta – unfortunately 16 of these are on the ‘green watch list’ meaning they could be suddenly be shunted up to amber.

Australia and New Zealand are both unambiguously green – unfortunately neither are welcoming British travellers at the moment.

Has anyone joined the red list?

Yes – Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte are joining the red list.

If you have a holiday to one of those destinations already booked and want to press ahead, bear in mind the cost for solo travellers in a quarantine hotel in England will be ramped up from £1,750 to £2,285 from August 12.

The charge for an additional adult sharing a room will more than double from £650 to £1,430 to ‘better reflect the increased costs involved’, the Government said.

Is my trip to Spain safe?

There were fears in the travel industry that Spain – the most popular overseas destination for UK holidaymakers – could be added to England’s red list.

The Government announced it would keep its amber status, but urged travellers arriving in the UK from Spain to take a PCR test for the mandatory pre-departure test ‘as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country’.

Many travellers have been relying on the cheaper lateral flow test kits which are less reliable than PCRs.

Things keep changing – what do I have to do when I get home again?

There are different rules for countries on the red, amber and green lists that also differ according to a traveller’s vaccination status.

Passengers to England returning from a red list country must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure and must book a hotel quarantine package including two Covid-19 tests even if they have had both jabs.

They must also complete a passenger locator form.

If you have come from an amber list country, you need proof of a negative test before travel and those who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate 10 days upon arrival and take a PCR test on day two and day eight.

You might be able to get out of quarantine early if you pay for a private PCR test to be taken on day five under the Test to Release scheme.

Those with two vaccines only need to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival and can skip self-isolation – the same rules apply to those who are under the age of 18 regardless of their vaccination status.

Anyone returning from a green list country need only have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travel, fill in a passenger locator form and take a test on day two after arrival.

Do these changes apply elsewhere in the UK?

The devolved nations have control over their own amber, red and green lists of countries as well as the rules around quarantine upon return, and the recent changes have attracted criticism from some quarters.

The Welsh Government is still advising against ‘all but essential’ travel abroad, and those who have been to a red list country cannot even enter until they have completed 10 days of quarantine in England or Scotland first.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Welsh Government said: ‘We have long called for a clearer system of rules regarding international travel.

‘The ad-hoc nature of the decisions made by the UK Government on the issue does little to instil confidence or provide clarity for travellers.

‘We continue to advise against all but essential travel abroad because of the continuing risk of infection, including with new variants of coronavirus which may not respond to our vaccines.

‘We will consider the latest changes announced by the UK Government.’

Amy Perez, 39, a marketing director from Putney, south west London, who has been travelling around Mexico with her family, said: ‘It’s inconvenient and expensive and there seems to be an entire industry surrounding Covid testing.

‘We were on holiday for two weeks and are really chuffed that we don’t have to quarantine for 10 days.

‘We would have been locked up in a hotel with these two little monsters – Maxi, 18 months, and Emilia, who just turned four yesterday.’ 

Her husband Jorge said: ‘The government wants people to get vaccinated, but then people don’t see the benefits.

‘It would have made more sense for us to take the fine rather than shell out thousands of pounds, not be able to work and be locked up with our children.’

Alejandro Seama, 42, a filmmaker from London, said: ‘I think it’s terrible and stupid, because it seems they just want rich people to be able travel.

‘Look at my dad, he’s 72, he’s been double vaccinated, he’s absolutely fine, but for some reason they don’t accept his vaccines here.

‘I had to spend £600 on mandatory Covid tests just to get my parents here.

‘If the rules had already changed, they would not have been able to visit and I would have never left.

‘I had no clue that Mexico was going on the red list, but thank God we came back today.’

Returning from Mexico after the deadline will see Britons face a steep hotel quarantine bill after the government raised the price to ‘reflect increased costs involved’. 

A single person will have to stump up £2,285 from next Thursday during their isolation – while additional adults and teenagers will be charged £1,430 – more than double the current £650 rate.

The price for children aged five to 12 will remain at £325, while under-fives will continue to stay for free.

It means that, for a family of four with two teenage children, the cost will jump from £3,700 to a staggering £6,575 – a rise of 78 per cent.

Mr Coward said if the couple do not receive a refund from British Airways for their holiday, based near Cancun, they will be ‘several thousand pounds out of pocket’.

He said staying is not an option due to the cost of quarantine hotels – which from August 12 will rise to £2,285 for a solo traveller, plus an extra £1,430 for additional adults sharing a room.

Ayo Faley, a call handler for NHS Test and Trace in London, also landed in Cancun on Thursday morning but she plans to stay for her holiday as planned and pay for quarantine.

She is returning on August 11 so will pay the lower rate of £1,750, but said she is ‘absolutely distraught’.

The 24-year-old said: ‘I only found out (travel restrictions had changed) the minute I was able to connect to wifi at the airport… I went into a state of panic.

‘(I tried) to locate other Brits and see whether they knew and what their next plan of action was… you could see the look of confusion, fear and regret all in their faces.

‘I am absolutely distraught… I’ve decided to just stay and enjoy the time here… I’ll just have to face the consequences when I arrive.’

Ms Faley works from home and had planned to do so on her return from Cancun, but said she will not be able to access her equipment in quarantine.

She added: ‘How are (the Government) planning to help individuals who have found themselves in a situation like this?

‘Leaving the UK thinking their country of destination was safe to then land and find out they better return ASAP or risk being stuck in a hotel for 11 days.’

Aaron, who did not wish to share his second name, is relocating his family to Edinburgh in late August and will now have to pay for them all to quarantine on arrival.

The 43-year-old arrived in Mexico in early July to witness the birth of his son, Aviv, and his wife, who is from Sinaloa, had her UK visa approved on July 28.

‘(Aviv) was due to be born July by C-section, but they brought the date forward, so I arrived in the airport at 3am and just made it to the hospital before my wife went to surgery,’ Aaron told PA.

Aaron is a self-employed data and audiovisual engineer and said he ‘can’t quantify’ how much quarantining will cost his business.

‘I have previously taken out a bounce-back loan to keep my business afloat,’ he added.

‘I have no idea why I should have to pay to isolate in a hotel when I’ve had both (Astrazeneca) vaccinations in Edinburgh, proof of vaccination, took a test on my way here and will take one on arrival in Scotland.’

James Dean, 38, from Bournemouth had already spent £8,000 on a fortnight in Cancun with wife Rebecca and their four children Lilly, 16, Jack, 13, Isabella, nine, and Fred, six.

The office manager told the Mirror: ‘That has just shocked me. I’m gutted to be honest. 

‘I’m going have to pay for us all to go in to quarantine as well. I’m still digesting it. I’m just gobsmacked.’ 

John Soones, 62, from south west London, was travelling to Mexico with his wife and their 18 year old daughter.

He said: ‘It’s just incredible. It’s terrible to get no notice that this is likely to happen and no time to change plans.’

In more positive news, it was announced that double-jabbed tourists returning from France will be spared quarantine from Sunday and seven European countries including Germany and Norway were added to the green list of destinations.

Spain has also been spared being given red status – potentially forcing thousands into £2,285-a-stay quarantine hotels – but the Government is urging travellers to take a PCR test before they fly home from the Iberian country. 

Grant Shapps said today that people can travel without ‘looking over their shoulders’ for the next three weeks as countries will not move lists ‘unless something exceptional and unexpected happens’. But the Transport Secretary added that full vaccination for travel will be a feature for Britons ‘forever more’ and admitted that countries could turn red again by the end of the month.

Tens of thousands more Britons are now expected to head to France for August – although tourism chiefs have warned millions more Frenchmen are staying in the country this summer so there is serious a lack of accommodation if the traveller is without a second home.

There is a particular shortage of gites, camp sites and hotel rooms in the south of the country, especially near beach resorts such as Biarritz, Narbonne, Île de Ré and Saint-Tropez, while experts have said there are much larger numbers of tourists from Holland, Belgium and Germany in the country this year.

Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia will all move to the quarantine-free tier at the end of the weekend, in a huge boost for those looking to book a late summer getaway on the continent. 

But while there is no quarantine people will still have to take a negative test before returning and a PCR test on day two back in the UK.

Meanwhile, the status of India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will switch from red to amber, meaning arrivals from those countries will no longer have to spend 11 nights at pricey quarantine hotels.   

While Spain avoided joining them, those flying back will soon face higher testing costs after ministers urged holidaymakers to take a PCR for the mandatory pre-departure test, rather than the cheaper lateral flow alternatives, ‘as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country’.

Queues at St Pancras International this morning as France was opened up both ways for British tourists and people jumped on the Eurostar

Queues at St Pancras International this morning as France was opened up both ways for British tourists and people jumped on the Eurostar 

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Not wearing a face mask on the Tube should be a CRIMINAL offence says Sadiq Khan 

Sadiq Khan has said that failing to wear a face mask on the Tube should become a criminal offence.

The London Mayor has been pushing the the government to allow Transport for London (TfL) to impose a by-law requiring face coverings on the capital’s transport network.

Since the easing of restrictions on July 19 ‘Freedom Day’, passengers have only been required to wear a covering as a ‘condition of carriage’ rather than a legal requirement.

This means TfL staff can tell non-compliant customers to leave a bus or train but are powerless to impose fines.

But Mr Khan now wants a bye-law put in place to effectively bring back the rule that was dropped on July 19.

The rule change would also mean British Transport Police officers could be used to enforce it.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newscast podcast Mr Khan said: ‘We are trying to lobby the Government to allow us to bring in a bye-law, so it will be the law again, so we can issue fixed penalty notices and we can use the police service and BTP to enforce this.’

With the guidance being advice, rather than law, many travellers may feel entitled to refuse to take the gold-standard test, which can cost as much as £175 per person.

French tourism chiefs have welcomed the news that Britons can more freely come and go from Sunday – especially because Britons are by far the biggest spenders in the country but only around ten per cent of the usual number of UK tourists are in the country this summer.

But in the past month Mr Macron has enforced a ‘high alert’ covid-19 level hit in 37 departments in France because of rising cases of the Delta variant and increasingly busy hospitals. 

In Occitanie, in south-west France, a ‘white’ alert has been imposed meaning medics on holiday can be forced to return to work because of increasingly packed covid wards.

Changes to the traffic light system are a ‘positive step forward’ but the Government needs to make faster progress in opening up international travel, industry experts have warned.

Four countries are being removed from England’s red list as part of the latest update to the international travel system, while seven more, including Germany are being added to the green list.

It has also been confirmed that arrivals from France will no longer need to self-isolate, aligning the nation with other countries on the amber list, from which arrivals only need to quarantine at home if they are not fully vaccinated.

Scotland and Northern Ireland have followed England in introducing the same travel relaxations.

However, the changes have attracted criticism from the Welsh Government which has continued to advise against ‘all but essential’ travel.

Confirmation that France is joining the amber list is ‘positive’ especially during the ‘critical’ school holiday period, said Mark Tanzer, head of Abta, the travel association.

But he warned the Government is ‘failing to capitalise fully on the success of the vaccine rollout’ with a ‘very cautious’ approach to the green list and ‘failure to relax restrictions on travel, including requirements for multiple tests even when visiting low risk destinations.’

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said the extension of the green list is ‘a positive step forward’ but warned that the UK remains ‘a long way off a full and meaningful restart of international travel’. 

Tim Alderslade, boss of Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, described the announcement as ‘another missed opportunity’. 

Covid cases in the UK and France look set to pass each other in the coming days as a wave of delta cases in Britain drops while it is on the rise across the Channel

Covid cases in the UK and France look set to pass each other in the coming days as a wave of delta cases in Britain drops while it is on the rise across the Channel

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He added that the travel industry has not had ‘anything like the reopening it was hoping for’.

Meanwhile, Rory Boland, travel editor at Which?, welcomed the addition of more green list countries, but warned that the constant chopping and changing would cause further disruption for many.

‘The cost for travellers can be significant,’ he said. ‘Some holidaymakers whose countries have now been placed in the red category will find that their airline or tour operator is unwilling to give them a refund. Other providers won’t refund or even facilitate rebooking if a country is moved from green to amber.’

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘While there’s some welcome progress, the Government is still being too cautious at a time when they should be opening up travel faster to help the sector’s recovery.’

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, said: ‘Now summer is fully under way, this provides some reassurance to consumers by keeping the status quo for key holiday destinations, as well as adding some Green list destinations for last-minute bookers where there are still great flight and holiday deals available.

‘But we remain disappointed at the double standards applied to travel versus the domestic economy. With infection rates remaining lower in much of Europe and the high vaccination levels in the UK, if not now, it is hard to know when the time is for much of Europe to genuinely turn Green.

‘And Government urgently needs to tackle this expensive testing regime which is adding unnecessary cost, especially for the fully vaccinated. No one wants to see flying become a preserve of the rich again – particularly when so many need to get away or reunite after such a long time.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9873489/FINAL-flight-Cancun-British-tourists-land-Gatwick-just-HOUR-spare.html