Travel ‘green lists’ to be announced by government soon

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Those desperate for holidays will find out where they can travel from the UK without quarantine from Friday (May 7).

Summer holidays having been pending the first confirmation of where we will be allowed to go for a foreign break, with the ban on international travel expected to lift after May 17.

With worldwide Covid outbreaks and lower vaccination rates, minsters are said to be concerned as they consider when to reopen the borders, reports MirrorOnline.

But Britain’s jabs success has raised hopes that travel can begin to reopen with strict rules in place soon.

Ahead of the the official announcement, here’s a breakdown of what we know.

Green list

The UK’s green, amber and red lists for foreign travel are expected to be published this Friday (May 7), with a possible press conference being held at Number 10.

The lists will dictated whether those who return from different countries will quarantine in a hotel, self-isolate at home, or not quarantine at all.

The current system bans foreign travel from the UK unless it’s for an essential reason. As such, countries are effectively red or amber at the moment – there’s no green list.

The new system is due to take effect on May 17 according to the current roadmap.

Rules for green list travellers

The traffic light-style system is based on the risks from each destination country.

Those returning from a green list country will not have to quarantine when they return home, although they will still have to take a test before travelling, as well as a gold-standard PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival back home.

For amber countries, returning Brits will have to quarantine at home for up to 10 day, or halve isolation time by paying for a PCR test on day 5.

Holidaymakers still have to take a test before travelling home and tests on day 2 and 8 if they do the full 10-day quarantine.

People returning from red list countries must book a 10-night stay in a Government-approved quarantine hotel, starting at £1,750 for solo travellers.

They must still get tested on day 2 and 8 but cannot leave quarantine early even if they test negative.

The Government advises everyone to book tests before travel from an approved private providers – listed on gov.uk.

Countries on the green list

The green list published this Friday will include a handful of the safest countries from May 17.

A government source said the list will “play it safe”, adding: “It is a very cautious, initial list that will develop. It will be fairly underwhelming at first.”

Speculation about what countries could make it onto the green list is based on the state of the virus in these places.

Reports have suggested that places like Portugal, Israel, Malta and Gibraltar could be on the green list for May 17.

Meanwhile, Spain, Greece and France could be added by the end of June, according to the Telegraph.

Separate Foreign Office advice published on Tuesday (May 4) gave a hint of the direction of travel.

It is not advising against non-essential travel to Portugal (excluding the Azores), Spain’s Canary Islands or the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.

Tourists visiting these popular hotspots do not face a level of risk for coronavirus that is “unacceptably high”, according to the latest updates from the Foreign Office.

June changes

Reviews of the green, amber and red lists have been pencilled in roughly every three weeks, so more countries look set to be added near the beginning – and then again near the end – of June.

This is being described as a “big bang” that could open up travel much more widely as the summer ticks on.

While there is a green ‘watchlist’ for nations at risk of turning amber, it’s likely to have no countries on it on May 17.

Which list?

Officials will base their decision for each list on factors including infection rates, percentage of the population vaccinated and whether there are variants of concern.

The country’s access to reliable scientific data will also play a role, the Government has said.

Ministers including Transport Minister Grant Shapps and Health Minister Matt Hancock are due to sign off the lists on Thursday.

As of Tuesday, it is understood that a draft list had not yet been given to ministers by the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

My destination is on the green list – am I good to travel?

No, as travel plans also depend on Covid rules in the country you want to visit.

Some countries could make you quarantine on arrival at your destination – rendering any kind of holiday pretty much pointless.

Fortunately for Brits, the EU has unveiled plans to let in anyone who’s had both doses of a vaccine for at least 14 days.

In addition to this, the UK is being tipped to join an EU list of ‘safe’ countries whose residents will be allowed to go on holiday in the EU, even without a vaccine.

This could prove crucial for under-40s in the UK, who are only expected to get their second doses towards the end of the summer.

Countries and the traffic light system

Ministers will try to put a wobbly green country on a fourth list – the ‘green watchlist’ – before turning it amber, to give travellers time to change their plans.

They would not hesitate to plunge a safe country straight into amber or red if needed, according to sources – and there is no guarantee that countries on the green list on May 17 will still be on it later in the summer.

Are islands separate from mainlands?

Islands are not expected to be separated from their countries under the UK system until at least June, due to a lack of reliable data.

That means the Greek islands would be unable to join the green list on May 17 if Greece as a whole is not on it.

In the same way, Mallorca would not be able to join the green list on May 17 if Spain is classified as amber.

This is despite islands often having very different infection rates to the countries they’re a part of.



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