MINISTERS sparked more holiday confusion today as they admitted that Brits living in Indian variant hotspots can still legally go on green list holidays.
It came after new advice from the Government plunged half term holidays into chaos as they advised people living in eight areas not to leave where they live.
Thousands of family getaways and long-awaited trips in the next few weeks will have been destroyed by the latest guidance, quietly brought in a few days ago, but which only came to light today.
People living in Bedford, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Kirklees, Leicester City, Houndslow and North Tyneside are now being told to stay in their areas after spikes in the virus there.
It effectively means the return of local lock-downs by the backdoor, as Brits in certain areas face different guidance and rules.
Residents have also been told to meet only outside and stay two metres apart if they can – guidance which doesn't apply to the rest of the country.
But this advice is only advice, not law, and people will not be fined for leaving or disobeying the rules.
Ministers are warning people not to enter or leave these areas "unless it is essential".
However, this lunchtime Downing Street admitted people were still allowed to go on green list holidays – despite the advice saying people should only go if its "essential".
The advice boils down to – you can go, but you shouldn't.
And it's not illegal so people won't face fines.
A No10 spokesperson said: "The advive is clear – on travel to the green list, that is not limited by region.
"It is not limited to specific regions. We encourage people to exercise their good judgement as they have done throughout the pandemic.
"The advice on Gov.uk makes it clear people should try not to do this (travel) if possible, but it down to individual judgement."
It comes as:
- Brits told not to travel in & out of 8 Indian variant hotspots, only meet outside and stay 2m apart
- Fully vaccinated Brits ‘will STILL need to self-isolate if they come into contact with people with Covid after June 21’
- Up to 8,700 patients ‘died after catching Covid while in hospital being treated for something else’
- Indian doctors now warn of yellow fungus seen in Covid patient after deadly black fungus fears
The confusing and conflicting advice means thousands of Brits living in the areas affected face chaos as they work out whether they should go on holiday or now.
Two million people have been told not to travel – but they will be allowed to go abroad and no one will stop them.
The upcoming Bank Holiday this weekend is the first that people in England are allowed to travel abroad, sit indoors together as a group of six, or as two households in unlimited numbers.
Groups of 30 are allowed outside and two households are able to rent out a holiday home together over half term next week (from May 28).
The new government guidance states: “The new Covid-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person.
"To help stop the spread, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble.
“In the areas listed, wherever possible, you should try to meet outside rather than inside where possible, keep two metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with, [and] avoid travelling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential, for example for work (if you cannot work from home) or education.”
This afternoon Labour's Jon Ashworth was furious over the lack of clrity for Brits.
He said it was "Upsetting and insulting to have local measures imposed by stealth by the backdoor" and demands it it ripped up immediately.
Earlier today local leaders and MPs complained they weren't told about the changes, which were dumped on the Government website last Friday evening.
There was no public announcement, and they didn't find out until last night when journalists started to flag the new guidance.
Newly elected West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin added the change could cause "anxiety and confusion".
North Tyneside's local health chief Wendy Burke questioned why the new rules weren't raised in an announcement about more mass testing last week.
It is understood the guidance was first introduced for Bolton as far back as May 14, meaning it has secretly been in place for weeks.
The new rules were not mentioned in an official announcement about beefed-up testing measures in the area published on the same date.
Other regions were included in the essential travel guidance as data from surge testing became available.
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