The Government has announced that a new traffic light system for when foreign travel resumes later this year.
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When is the next travel announcement?
The Government’s global travel taskforce was due to report on Monday 12 April – however, as it transpired, the findings were released a little earlier on Friday 9 April.
And the death of Prince Philip, announced later the same day, non-urgent Government briefings were postponed for a week.
However, confirmation of when travel will be allowed to resume, as well as the traffic light lists, is not expected until early May.
The taskforce, which is led by the Department for Transport, aims “to work in partnership with industry and international partners to develop a risk-based framework that could facilitate the return of international travel, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants”.
Where will I be allowed to travel?
The lists will be decided based on the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- The prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Here are the rules that will be in place for each list:
- Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests
- Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on day two and day eight. There will be the option to take an additional test on day five to end self-isolation early
- Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for red list countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing on day two and eight
The Government is looking at ways to reduce the price of testing, with PCR tests normally costing around £120-160.
“We will work with the travel industry and private testing providers ahead of international travel reopening, to see how we can further reduce the cost of travel for the British public, while ensuring travel is as safe as possible,” a Government spokesperson said.
“This could include cheaper tests being used when holidaymakers return home, as well as whether the Government would be able to provide pre-departure tests.”
The Department for Transport has said it is still “too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer”.
A spokesperson said: “These decisions will be driven by the data and evidence nearer the time, which we cannot predict now. In advance of the resumption of non-essential international travel, we will set out our initial assessment of which countries will fall into which category.
“Thereafter countries will move between the red, amber and green lists depending on the data.”
Based on vaccination and case data, all four look likely to land on the amber list.
Malta, Portugal, Israel and the USA could be on the green list, thanks to high vaccination rates or low infection figures.