Couples separated by border closures 'completely forgotten' in green list

Couples separated by border closures have spoken of feeling ‘completely forgotten’ in the Government’s green list for travel.

The much-anticipated list sets out which countries tourists will be able to visit from May 17 without having to self-isolate on their return to England and includes Portugal and Gibraltar.

However, people with partners living in countries not on the list face waiting even longer to be reunited or having to pay hundreds complying with costly quarantine requirements.

Alyssa Pallotti, from Texas, has been separated from her partner, Jacob Greenwood, who lives in Bracknell, Berkshire, for nine months. She said: ‘I’ve heard the UK Government talking about holidays, holidays, holidays when it comes to this green list, and we feel very forgotten.

‘We are actually classed as leisure travel — like seeing your partner is not considered essential. In the US or UK, it is considered a luxury.’

Ms Pallotti said she feels ‘very lucky’ to have been able to travel to the UK a couple of times since August last year, while balancing remote working.

But quarantining each time has cost her thousands of dollars.

In March, she spent two weeks quarantining in order to spend four days with her partner over Easter, before flying back to America, adding: ‘It’s very draining for me because it is just all on me to go over there because he is not allowed to come to the US.’

She said Mr Greenwood would be able to enter the US if they were married: ‘But we don’t want to be forced to get married just because that is what the Government says.’

Love Is Not Tourism, a campaign fighting to reunite families who have been separated by travel bans and border closures, connected Ms Pallotti with other people in her situation.

She said: ‘There was a rumour this morning that the US would be lifting the ban, and that was probably the most hopeful I have seen everyone.

‘But now we all just feel very upset and very deflated.’

Garrett Leibovitz, 21, said he feels ‘completely depressed’ at not having seen his fiancee, Vanessa Torres Gonzales, 24, for the last 15 months.

Ms Gonzales, who is Italian and currently living in London, plans to move to the US once her visa is approved, a process that has been delayed due to the pandemic.

Mr Leibovitz, from Kansas in the United States, said the ‘hardest thing’ was not having a date to be able to plan around.

He added: ‘People on Twitter act like we are selfish for wanting to travel. But it has been 15 months, and multiple countries have made exemptions for couples, and I don’t see why the UK and US can’t do that either.

‘It’s not about holidays, it is about reconnecting families.’

Travellers returning to the UK from a green list country will not be need to quarantine, and will only be required to take one post-arrival test.

People returning from amber countries must take two post-arrival tests.

They are also required to self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can reduce that time if they take an additional negative test on day five.

Those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.

The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, and there are four key tests the Government will take into account when deciding how to categorise a country.

These include the percentage of the country’s population to have been vaccinated, the rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

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