Research from The PC Agency, a travel consultancy, suggests that 12 destinations, including Germany, Poland, Canada, Austria and Romania, could go completely green, allowing even unvaccinated vacationers to reach them. visit without having to quarantine on their return to the UK.
The 12 countries have infection rates of less than 30 cases per 100,000, compared to 286 per 100,000 in the UK, and most have also completely bitten more than half of their adult populations. The list also includes Bosnia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Five others – Bhutan, French Polynesia, North Macedonia, Norway and Saudi Arabia – have infection rates low enough to join the “green watch list”, defined as being at risk of turning orange and allowing only fully bitten travelers to visit without quarantine upon return to the UK.
The data will be analyzed by the Joint Biosecurity Center (JBC) this week before ministers decide which countries should be red, orange or green based on the risk of importing Covid-19 and its variants. The JBC is believed to be looking at an initial long list of 77 countries as possible “green” additions.
Pressure on ministers to significantly expand the green list increased after it emerged that Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, wrote to Boris Johnson last month urging him to lift restrictions on overseas travel for allow the UK to compete with EU countries which have relaxed their border controls.
Backbench MPs and the travel industry are also urging ministers to review redlisted countries, forcing any arrivals from them to self-quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £ 1,750.
PC Agency analysis suggests that four countries – Bahrain, India (the source of the delta variant now sweeping across Europe), Kenya and Pakistan – have seen their infection rates drop enough to go from amber red.
“No one has been off the red list since its introduction despite falling infection rates. We have to open up the Middle East. the [international exhibition conference] starts in Dubai in two months and we cannot have a situation where the British cannot go and present their companies, ”said a senior Conservative MP.
Ministers are expected to lift travel bans this month at major airports serving the Far East, Middle East and Australia, including Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Bahrain, which are currently on the red list .
Passengers passing through airports without leaving the airside will no longer be required to quarantine themselves at hotels in the UK – and instead will be treated based on the last destination they left, such as Australia on the green list.
However, Iceland, Malta, Madeira and Israel are at risk of turning from green to amber due to rising infection rates.
The most controversial this week will be whether ministers decide to put countries in a new category of Amber Watchlist, which would mean they were at imminent risk of turning red.