HOLIDAYS will be able to go ahead this summer, the government has confirmed, with a new traffic light system opening up countries without travel restrictions.
Under the scheme countries will be classified as either green, amber, or red, depending on the state of the pandemic and rate of vaccinations.
A number of holiday destinations will be added to the UK’s green list this summer[/caption]
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has ditched the official advice not to plan foreign trips for the first time.
He confirmed that the countries on the green list would be revealed in “two or three weeks,” adding: “For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday.”
Since February, we have known that international travel would start no earlier than May 17.
The new system being discussed would use a three-colour guide to mandate what restrictions travellers would face depending on the risk.
Countries on the “green” list would be able to travel without quarantine restrictions and would require a pre-flight Covid test as well as a PCR test on day two of returning to the UK.
However, travel to ‘green list’ countries could still be blocked by the Foreign Office.
Its advice may contradict the UK’s traffic light system, rendering some destinations off-limits – despite being ruled safe.
Green list countries are expected to include Malta and Gibraltar, both of which have a successful vaccine rollout and low Covid cases, along with Iceland and Israel.
The Caribbean and the UAE may also make the cut.
It could also include the US, New Zealand and Australia, although they all remain closed to the UK currently, with the US even increasing the travel warning against Britain to the highest level.
“Amber” countries would require a negative Covid test before arrival in the UK, plus two further tests once in the country and a ten-day quarantine at home.
The rest of Europe including Spain, Greece and Portugal, some of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits, may be placed onto the “amber” list.
Both Portugal and Malta are two countries in Europe which could be on the green list[/caption]
A holiday to the US could even be on the cards for June as the country ramps up their vaccination programme[/caption]
Then arrivals from “red list countries would have to isolate at a quarantine hotel for 10 days, at a cost of £1,750.
While we haven’t been given the details of which countries could be on the green list, there are a number of destinations in with a chance as they have kept their cases low or whose vaccination drives are progressing quickly.
According to research by The PC Agency, countries which could be put on the lowest risk list include Malta and Portugal, both of which have kept cases low, while Malta is the leading EU destination for the vaccine.
Also in Europe, Gibraltar and Greece could also make the green list.
Israel is likely to be on the list, with 60 per cent of the population having their first jab, while the US could even make the green list with hopes for a UK-US travel corridor.
The Caribbean and the UAE may also make the cut while Spain and Italy may also be able to join from June if their jabs programmes progress well.
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Mr Shapps advised people only to travel to green countries and said he’s looking at ways to “drive down” the costs of testing.
He said one idea is for the Government to provide holidaymakers with cheaper lateral flow tests before they travel – which they can then use abroad before getting on the plane.
And he also added ministers are trying to see how they can drive down the price of the return PCR tests, which are used to sequence variants from abroad.