The UK government has finally revealed the 12 countries and territories that will be designated “green” once the current ban on non-essential travel is lifted after weeks of speculation.
The long-awaited announcement is expected to result in an increase in holiday bookings for countries that have earned a coveted spot, although it is disappointing that the list does not include some top travel destinations.
A traffic light system is now in place, with countries divided into three different categories based on their rates of Covid-19 infection and vaccinations, as well as the prevalence of any variants of concern.
The full green list is: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Islands South Sandwich; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha and Israel.
France, Greece, Spain and Italy have been placed on the ‘orange’ list, meaning travelers will need to be quarantined for 10 days upon their return to the UK.
Meanwhile, Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal are added to the UK’s “red” list of countries whose most travel is banned. This list already includes South Africa, India, Namibia and the United Arab Emirates.
“I regret that favorite summer destinations like France, Spain and Greece have not yet been included,” UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said at a press conference on Friday.
Traffic light system
JOSEP LAGO / AFP via Getty Images
“But every three weeks after the reopening, we will be reviewing the countries, to see how and where we can expand the green list. So this is only a first step. “
Travelers who plan to visit a ‘green’ destination will need to take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on or before the second day of their return to the UK. However, they will not be required to quarantine themselves.
Those traveling from a country designated “orange” will be required to quarantine for 10 days, take a pre-departure test and also undergo a PCR test on the second and eighth day of their isolation.
Travelers “amber” will be eligible for the release test program, which allows vacationers to take a PCR test after five days of quarantine. If they receive a negative result, then they are allowed to go out into the community.
Those planning to vacation in a ‘red’ list destination face the strictest restrictions and will also need to check in at one of the UK’s quarantine hotels, costing £ 1,750 (approx. $ 2,445) per adult, also upon their return. follow the same testing rules for those arriving from “orange” destinations.
According to Shapps, travelers can use their NHS app to demonstrate their vaccination and Covid test status, while a paper alternative will be available for those without a smartphone.
The news will come as a relief for British holidaymakers, who have been banned from traveling outside England “without reasonable excuse” since tighter lockdown restrictions were put in place in January.
In recent weeks, those who flout the rules have faced fines ranging from £ 5,000 ($ 7,000) to £ 10,000 ($ 14,000).
After the announcement, the World Travel & Tourism Council expressed disappointment that the United States was not included on the “green” list and accused the British government of being “too careful”.
“We welcome this initial first step for the UK government to start opening the door to international travel with the announcement of today’s ‘traffic light’ system,” reads an official statement from the President. -director general Gloria Guevera.
“However, airlines and the broader travel and tourism industry will be extremely disappointed that the United States, which has a similar vaccine success rate, was not included on the ‘green list’ as it would have allowed the resumption of transatlantic travel, which would have provided a vital lifeline for the industry in two of the world’s largest travel and tourism markets.
‘Holidaymakers and business travelers will be disappointed with today’s news, with so few countries on the’ green list ‘as Europe steals a march on the UK as it continues to open and welcome visitors. “