The new category was created hastily on 16 July as a bespoke solution for France, as ministers panicked about the rise in beta cases – otherwise known as the South African variant. It has not been given the name “amber plus” officially, although this is essentially what it is.
The new grade mandates that travellers returning from “amber plus” territories must self-isolate for 10 days and take two tests, regardless of whether they’ve been fully vaccinated or not.
From 19 July, Britons fully vaccinated by the NHS are exempt from quarantine on return from amber territories, and must instead take just one PCR test within two days of arrival.
According to reports from the Guardian, ministers will discuss shunting mainland Spain, as well as its holiday islands, onto the amber plus list as infections rise.
The Balearics, which were downgraded from green to amber list at the latest traffic light reshuffle on 14 July, have seen soaring infections in recent weeks. Latest government Covid data shows that seven-day infection rates stand at 363 in 10,000 people.
A curfew has been introduced on the popular holiday islands to curb the spread.
It comes as the UK is finalising plans to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated EU and US citizens, in order to open up inbound travel. An official announcement is expected later today.