Travel abroad is now permitted across the UK, but travellers were left bewildered after a series of mixed messages this week. After the confused communications, several Government officials have now stressed people should only visit green list countries. Those hoping to go on holiday are now anxiously awaiting the next travel update to see if their favourite destinations will be moved to the green list. But what countries will be on the new green list?
Holidaymakers have been able to travel abroad since Monday, May 17.
As international travel opened up, a traffic light system came into force, ranking each country according to its risk level.
Green countries are those deemed safest and do not require passengers to quarantine upon their return.
Instead, they must only take a pre-departure test and PCR test on day two after their return.
Amber list countries are discouraged for leisure travellers and arrivals must quarantine at hoe for 10 days.
These travellers must also take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on days two and day eight after arrival – although an additional test can be taken on day five to end isolation early.
For red list countries, travel is discouraged and arrivals must pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as pre-departure and PCR tests.
There is no test to release early with red list countries.
This week the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged patience to people hoping to travel on holiday to European countries.
He revealed the green list for foreign holidays could be expanded very soon.
Mr Shapps told the Financial Times: “I don’t think people have a very long time to wait before other countries are able to join the green list.”
The Transport Secretary added France’s vaccination rate is six to eight weeks behind the UK, meaning it will likely soon be considered relatively safe to visit.
Mr Shapps urged hopeful holidaymakers in Britain to be “a little patient” and wait for countries to be put on the green list before undertaking leisure travel.
He implied ramping up of vaccination efforts could be the key to expanding the list.
The current green list includes Portugal, Gibraltar and Australia.
Ministers have faced criticism this week for sending out mixed messages about whether travel to amber list countries is permitted or not, but the Transport Secretary warned people not to visit, simply saying “don’t do it”.
The Government is due to review its traffic light system for foreign travel on June 7.
It is thought by that time some countries will move to the green list, likely to include nations which are at the forefront of vaccinations.
The 15 nations which currently have the highest amount of population vaccinate includes:
- The UAE
- Falkland Islands
- Saint Helena
- Isle of Man
- San Marino
- Cayman Islands
The Government is set to review its traffic light system for foreign travel on June 7.
Some of the amber list countries are likely to move to the green list, however, a deluge of new countries is not expected.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson privately told MPs “quite a few” countries are on the cusp of joining the green list for quarantine-free holidays at the beginning of next month.
The frontrunners are likely to be destinations that were “near misses” in the current green list.
These countries were Malta, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Fiji, British Virgin Islands, Finland and Caribbean islands thought to include Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos and Anguilla.
Decisions will be based on countries’ prevalence of Covid and its variants, their genome sequencing and testing capability, and their vaccination rates.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today said it looks increasingly unlikely the top European tourist spots for British holidaymakers will make the green list in the next update.
Mr Buckland told Sky News: “It means more opportunities for holidaymakers, and the ease of transport that clearly makes a holiday a much more pleasant experience, so we’ll continue, where we see the evidence, to add countries.”