A new traffic light system was introduced earlier this month to allow some foreign travel to resume again after months of coronavirus lockdown.
People in England, Scotland and Wales are able to travel overseas on holiday to a limited number of destinations after restrictions were eased.
Holidaymakers have been urged to only travel to countries on the green list, which only includes 12 destinations at the moment, and to avoid visiting any locations listed as amber or red.
However, several popular holiday spots have not been included on the green list, including Spain, Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy, meaning trips abroad are still on hold for many.
Last week Grant Shapps hinted that UK holidaymakers could soon be able to travel to such destinations without the need to quarantine.
Mr Shapps appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme where he was asked if he was pushing for more countries to be given the green light.
He said: “Yeah of course. That list should expand.
“Of course, I expect the green list to expand, but we’re doing this very cautiously.
“I don’t think there’s any reason not to expand the green list as we get other countries up to very high levels of vaccination.”
“We are reviewing this all the time, every three weeks, the next review is in the first week of June and we’ll have to see what happens.”
Here’s what you need to know about the next travel review and the countries that could potentially be added to the green list.
When is the next travel update?
Government guidance states that the green, amber and red lists will be reviewed every three weeks.
The next review is expected to take place on 7 June, two week ahead of the final milestone in the lockdown roadmap in England.
A series of traffic light system checkpoint reviews will also be held in July and October, which will take into account the latest domestic and international data.
The briefing on international travel rules is expected to be given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson or Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
What criteria will be considered?
The decision on which countries are added to, or removed from, each list is based on a range of criteria, which takes into account public health advice and the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest Covid data.
The criteria for the lists includes:
- 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
Which countries could be added to the green list?
Reports suggest that Boris Johnson told the Conservative 1922 Committee on 20 May that “quite a few” countries were on the cusp of being added to the green list next month, according to The Telegraph.
The newspaper reports that Malta, Finland, the Cayman Islands, and a series of Caribbean islands are among the borderline destinations which may change status following the next review.
It is thought that countries which have a good vaccination rollout will most likely move on to the green list in early June.
Countries that have the highest percentage of the population vaccinated at the moment, which are not already on the green list, include:
- The UAE
- Isle of Man
- San Marino
- Cayman Islands
Spain’s tourism minister, Fernando Valdes, has also said the country is in a “good place” and suggested the country could be added to the green list in June.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “What I can say is that right now Spain is doing a great effort not only in terms of vaccination, we have at least one third of our whole population with at least one dose… but also, we do have some holiday destinations which are very loved by British tourists such as the Balearic islands, Costa Blanca or Malaga, with our notification rates which are pretty low and by the same notification range of the UK, so I have to suspect that on the next review that the UK Government can provide… Spain is going to change on its notification.”
The comments come after Spain lifted its restrictions to allow UK tourists to enter the country on Monday (24 May), meaning visitors no longer need to take a PCR Covid test.
However, the UK government is still advising against holidays to various popular tourist spots, including Spain, Greece and Cyprus, while they remain on the amber list.
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