Britons’ summer vacation plans received a major boost on Monday, as the EU confirmed that vaccinated travelers would be able to travel to Europe from June, although it is understood that the Kingdom United could give the green light to travel to less than 10 countries.
Changing quarantine requirements for popular vacation destinations are expected to make 2021 the year of the last minute booking.
The EU will reopen its doors to holidaymakers from countries with low Covid infection rates, such as the UK, and anyone who has been fully vaccinated, by early June as part of a plan of the European Commission.
A traffic light system will be announced this week in which countries will be added to the green, amber and red lists, with different rules regarding issues such as quarantine of returning travelers for each list.
Senior UK government sources have said the number of destinations Britons can travel to without quarantine from May 17 could be single digits – despite pressure from UK Tory MPs to give the green light to any Europe as vaccine rates improve. A significant number of the countries on the list are unlikely to be major vacation destinations, a source warned.
A source from Whitehall said changes could come fairly quickly over the summer, as the list of green countries is reviewed every three weeks.
“It will be a cautious approach, but then things could start to change quickly,” the source said.
Johnson said on Monday he didn’t want to see an “influx of disease” once international travel resumes, which is why the government said it was “as careful as it gets” with the roadmap.
“We want to make some opening on May 17, but I don’t think the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from everywhere else,” the Prime Minister told reporters on a campaign visit to Hartlepool. “Certainly not and we have to be very, very tough, and we have to be as careful as possible, while still opening up.
The government will have the right to quickly remove countries from Green or Amber Lists if cases soar quickly, but more regularly, countries will be added to a “watch list”, raising questions about the implications for cancellations and ‘insurance.
Portugal, Malta and Gibraltar are likely Green List countries, where testing will be required before travel but not quarantined after return. Popular destinations like Spain and France are expected to be on the orange list initially, where home quarantine is still required. The Red List countries, which will likely include Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, require quarantine at government-mandated hotels.
Advice to UK ministers will be given by the Joint Biosafety Center, which will deliver its final verdict on Wednesday, meaning an announcement will likely be delayed until Friday due to Thursday’s local elections. However, a government source said it was possible Johnson would make the announcement on Wednesday, a vital boost in morale ahead of the polls after a week of battling Tory sleaze stories.
Government will give green light for international travel to resume on May 17, and official advice to ‘minimize travel’ will become ‘travel safe, plan ahead’ without advice on limiting UK travel .
Labor leader Keir Starmer has warned that there should be no repeat of the ‘cut and change’ list of travel corridors introduced last summer. “We have to be very careful. I think it’s clear that the virus is increasing in some countries around the world, so we have to be very, very careful, ”he told reporters on a campaign visit to Lewisham.
An agreement on the opening of European borders is to be sought from EU member states during meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The existing obligation to undergo Covid testing before or after arrival or to quarantine could still be enforced by member states, but EU officials hope there will be a phasing out of these conditions.
According to the committee’s proposals, member states would allow travel to the EU for people who had received, at least 14 days before arrival, the final dose of an authorized vaccine.
Even those who have not been fully vaccinated, which is likely a younger demographic in the UK, will be allowed to enter the EU if they come from a country with a ‘good epidemiological situation’.
As it stands, only seven countries in the world are on a green list that allows non-essential travel. The commission proposes to increase the threshold for the cumulative 14-day Covid-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100. The UK rate is around 23.2 per 100,000 people.
A senior official said the UK could be added to the green list, but that would depend on a mutual willingness to open its borders to all EU citizens. “The figures for the UK are good,” the EU official said. “People vaccinated in the UK will be able to travel to the EU but [we are] aware of the other aspects: reciprocity. This is still a principle within the framework of this new recommendation. “
The committee is however proposing an emergency brake. When the epidemiological situation of a non-EU country worsens rapidly and in particular if a worrying or interesting variant is detected, a Member State may “urgently and temporarily suspend all incoming travel by non-EU citizens residing in such a country. “.
Johnson also confirmed that the UK is likely to ease social distancing measures on June 21, when the government intends to ease any remaining restrictions on hospitality and social gatherings. However, this probably means that masks remain mandatory in certain indoor environments.
“I think we have a good chance of being able to do without the more than one meter starting on June 21,” Johnson said. “It still depends on the data, we can’t say it categorically yet, we have to look at the epidemiology as we progress, we have to look at where we are with the disease. But that’s how I feel about myself right now.
On Monday, the UK recorded 1,649 new cases of coronavirus and only one death within 28 days of a positive Covid test, the lowest figure since August 30 of last year. However, there is still a lag in reporting deaths – most important on weekends and holidays – so that doesn’t necessarily mean that only one of those deaths has occurred in the previous 24 hours.