USA, Portugal and the other countries that could be on the ‘green list’ for quarantine free travel this summer

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People could be able to travel abroad from as early as next month as the UK government proceeds with its plan for opening up international travel this summer.

This means that UK airports including Cardiff will be taking holidaymakers on their long awaited getaways.

From May 17, a new traffic light system is set to be unveiled by the government determining which countries people can visit this summer and under what conditions.

The new system will mean some countries are put on the so-called green list, which means no quarantine is necessary – although travellers will need to test themselves before and after travel.

The amber list will include countries that will require quarantine upon arrival, but that can be done at home.

Travel to the red list of countries will require hotel quarantine.



London’s Heathrow Airport, The Queens Terminal, Terminal 2.

It’s also unclear how much the extra testing will cost those wanting to travel, the Government’s plan includes a requirement for at least two PCR tests to be carried out regardless of the country – which could cost £120 per person.

The UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said last week that people can now “start to think” about booking summer holidays, confirming how the new system will work.

Under the current coronavirus lockdown roadmap for England, it is illegal to travel abroad from anywhere in the UK for holidays and other leisure purposes until at least May 17. After this date, a traffic light system will come into force.

However, for those still wanting to get away as soon as possible, whether for a holiday or to be reunited with loved ones, there’s still no confirmation on which countries will be included on the first green list.

The uncertainty caused by the plans has already led Jet2 and Jet2Holidays to suspend all flights and holidays for an extra month, until after June 23.

Despite the UK Government pressing on with plans for travel to resume on May 17, First Minister Mark Drakeford has been critical of this.

Mr Drakeford has previously called for Boris Johnson to delay the May 17 date for international travel stating that the ongoing third wave poses a very real threat to the possibility of new variants and reinfections sweeping across the UK if the air travel resumes in England on May 17.


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Although the Welsh Government has responsibility for most of the rules and regulations which affect daily lives in Wales, in practice, the governments in Wales and Westminster have overlapping responsibilities which will determine how practical foreign travel is. As foreign affairs is largely not devolved and the UK’s biggest airports are in England, decisions made by the UK Government and its relationships with the governments in popular holiday destinations will play the biggest role in shaping what holidays will look like this year.

Which countries could be on the travel green list?

The government says it is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer. It has promised to set out “by early May” which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can definitely resume from 17 May.

Assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population which has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing – a process which analyses a virus sample taken from a diagnosed patient and compares it with other cases.

There are 10 countries that are most likely to be included based on the latest information.

These are:

  • Gibraltar

  • Israel

  • Malta

  • Morocco

  • Portugal

  • Singapore

  • South Korea

  • The Caribbean

  • United Arab Emirates

  • USA

However, this has not been confirmed yet and could be subject to change.

If this is the case, it means many favourites for British tourists including Spain and Italy will be off-limits at the start of summer – although they could be added at a later date.



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The red list is already in operation with 39 countries already included.

These include all of South America and southern Africa, with Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines were added on Friday.

Travellers arriving from these countries are required to quarantine in specially dedicated hotels for at least 10 days.

While the government has not yet released a list of countries broken down by traffic light, it is likely that criteria such as infection rate per 100,000 people will be considered.

This all remains speculation, however, and the government has said that the best course of action is to stay in the UK.

Of the 10 destinations thought to be included in the government’s green list, three can be travelled to via direct flight from Cardiff Airport.

Currently Cardiff airport offers direct flights to Malta, Portugal and The Carribean.

However, the airport also offers indirect flights to Israel, Singapore, South Korea, The United Arab Emirates and the USA meaning almost all 10 countries expected to be included can be accessed in some form from Cardiff Airport.

Over the border, from the 10 destinations featured on the list, Gibraltar, Malta, Morocco and Portugal can be be reached from Bristol Airport. The airport also offers a flight to Amsterdam which then offers a further 200+ connections – including all locations expected to be included in the green list.

All of the destinations currently expected to be included can also be accessed either via direct or indirect flights from London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports.



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