Red, amber, green. What do holiday traffic lights mean?

It’s illegal to holiday abroad at the moment. But under England’s new roadmap for easing Covid-19 restrictions, we could see foreign holidays allowed from 17 May 2021.

Which countries will Britons be allowed to travel to?

We still don’t know.

The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce has issued its report setting out how and when international leisure travel can restart.  

A traffic light system for international travel will be introduced.  Countries will be labelled red, amber or green based on their Covid-19 record of vaccinations, infection rates, and new variants.  But it is worth remembering that whether red, amber or green, other countries will apply their own entry restrictions to visitors from the UK.  Check the government’s travel advice website for country-specific travel information.

GREEN countries

Travellers will not be required to isolate on return to the UK, although pre-departure and post-arrival (day 2) covid tests are required. 

AMBER countries

Travellers will need to isolate at home with test pre-departure and on days 2 and 8.  There is also a test to release option on day 5.

RED countries

Travellers can expect a mandatory 10 day managed quarantine at a hotel with pre-departure test and testing on days 2 and 8.  

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 might be exempt from testing. But the full detail of how vaccination certificates will work is still being worked on.

It is not clear whether the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow this approach or introduce their own systems.  

The Safer Tourism Foundation has five key concerns to raise with the UK government:

  • how will holidaymakers identify approved/licensed testing facilities abroad?
  • will there be sufficient capacity for covid test appointments? 
  • will there be sufficient covid test processing capacity to provide a result within the holidaymakers’  timeframe for travel?
  • travel regulations are getting harder to negotiate: passport, visas, valid test results, passenger locator forms, health forms and even the change in duty-free restrictions.  What can be done to simplify international travel?
  • how will holidaymakers easily identify the red and amber countries?

Published on 06/04/21

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