Skip to main content


Holiday rules make us see red

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/Getty Images

“Give us a break,” says Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph, away from “this damp, sullen English August”. Alas, the government is doing its best to make foreign holidays “as difficult and expensive as possible”. The costs are shocking. Even for the double-jabbed, the multiple tests needed for the ever-changing amber list can end up costing a “debilitating” £500 for a family of four. “Why on earth can’t we use the free NHS tests for which we have already paid out of our taxes?” This “stealth tax on travel” is fine for the rich – I hear of one private jet pilot who has “never been busier” – but it blatantly discriminates against millions of hard-working families.

So does Britain’s red list. Some of the countries on it, like Kenya, have low Covid case numbers and deaths, says Dr Peninah Murage in a letter to The Guardian. It seems the government is using the list to prove to the public that it is doing something, safe in the knowledge that the backlash from poor countries will be minimal. What about Britons with family and friends in these places?

We need an alternative to this “opaque” traffic-light system, says The Times. Rather than trying to distinguish between destinations, the rules should focus on a traveller’s vaccination status – the Covid risk from someone fully jabbed is low, particularly in a country such as ours, where the virus is circulating anyway. ‘It is common sense.”

Home or abroad, we all deserve a holiday after the past 16 months, says Camilla Cavendish in the FT. “Enforced singledom” and home schooling have been a slog for many. “If we don’t recharge this August, September will hit us like a sledgehammer.” Maybe we puritanical Anglo-Saxons could take a tip from the Parisians and the Milanese, and clock off for the entire month. One high-powered friend spent his seven days in Malta idly watching boats unload in the harbour. That sounds much more appealing than a suitcase of “serious books” or daily yoga. “The soul needs something other than our constant drive for improvement. When I hear friends trading bucket lists, I can’t help remembering how much our family has always enjoyed a simple bucket and spade.”