Portugal and Israel are among a dozen countries that have been placed on England’s very first ‘green list’, allowing people to go abroad from May 17 and return home without the need. to quarantine.
Announcing the first easing of strict restrictions on overseas travel in months, Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said people may soon be booking overseas vacations and taking trips to see friends or relatives. parents living abroad. He also announced his intention to make digital passports for vaccines available.
But restrictions are tightened on three countries, Nepal, Maldives and Turkey, where the Champions League final is to be played between Manchester City and Chelsea. Shapps said the government had offered to host the match in the UK.
Although the resumption of international travel was slated for May 17 in Boris Johnson’s roadmap, questions remained about whether new variants of Covid and increases in cases across the world could lead to a postponement of the date.
Shapps confirmed that overseas pleasure travel could start again in just over a week and announced details of the new traffic light system that would rank countries based on their case and vaccine rates.
Travelers arriving from Green List countries will not be required to self-quarantine upon return to the UK, while those on the Amber List must self-isolate at home for 10 days, but may be released on the fifth day if they undergo a negative Covid test. result. Rules for Red List countries remain that only UK residents and nationals are allowed in – and all must be quarantined in a hotel for 10 days.
The 10 countries on the green list are: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Israel and Portugal – including the Azores and Madeira. The territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands as well as Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are also on the green list.
While the green list will make it easier to travel from some countries, accessing it can be extremely difficult. Several only allow their own nationals in the country. A government source said: “It’s so difficult to get into some of these places, it’s not like we’re encouraging people to go there.”
Shapps admitted that people were likely to be disappointed that countries like France, Italy and Spain were not on the green list. “As the summer progresses, we hope more traditional tourist destinations will be unlocked, but we have to turn the key slowly,” he said.
Opening the borders too quickly risks returning to “the days of misery, suffering and loss” caused by peaks in Covid infection, Shapps said. “For now, we need to be careful, respecting the science that will guide us along the way.
“Our success in the fight against Covid here… is not yet replicated in many places abroad. We in this country have succeeded in building a fortress against Covid, but the disease is still prevalent in other parts of the world. “
Travelers have also been told to expect longer queues at airports and if they want to go to a green list country they should make sure they can get a refund if they were to reverse changes to the schedules.
Shapps said the lists would be reviewed every three weeks, but previously suggested that major transit hubs such as the United Arab Emirates could remain on the red list indefinitely, given the number of passengers from around the world passing through Dubai. and Abu. Dhabi Airports.
He also said he was very open to the idea of Great Britain hosting the Champions League final at the end of May. “As there are two English clubs in this final, we can’t wait to hear what they have to say,” he said.
Travelers will also be able to show a Covid passport proving they have been vaccinated in order to potentially avoid quarantine in the country they are traveling to from the UK.