The government has outlined the framework which will allow international travel this summer, with at its core a new ‘traffic light system’ and enhanced testing for all.
As highlighted in the press conference on Monday given by Boris Johnson, the traffic light system will categorise countries based upon their risk. They are aimed at reducing the risk of new variants entering the country and posing a risk to the vaccination programme already in place.
On Friday morning, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that it would no longer be illegal to travel internationally once a date has been confirmed, and the ‘permission to travel’ form which allows you to exit the UK will be removed.
The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine roll out, and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again. – Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary
A Covid-19 Travel Charter will be introduced from 17th May, detailing what is required of passengers and restrictions will be assessed on 28 June, with further reviews taking place no later than 31 July and 1 October.
There are four key factors in assessing which countries are on which list:
– The number of people who have been vaccinated in that country.
– The rate of infection within the country
– Whether the country has a ‘variant of concern’ (as seen with South Africa or Brazil).
– Access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
We won’t know what countries are on which list until the government confirms that international travel will be possible on 17th May, and that is expected in the next three to four weeks. They will also be routinely assessed and reviewed over the summer.
There are going to be four different bands, although there will only be three different sets of rules depending on the list, as follows:
Green ?: when arriving back in the UK, a pre-departure test (in resort) will be needed along with a PCR test on or before day 2 of being back. There is no need to quarantine on the return unless there is a positive result.
In addition to the Green list, there will be a ‘Green Watchlist’. These will be countries that could be at risk of moving from Green to Amber, although the rules around these countries will remain on the Green list until they are moved.
Amber ?: when arriving back to the UK, it will be a requirement to have a pre-departure test (in resort) and quarantine at home. As we have now, the government mandate a PCR test on days 2 and 8 of a 10 day quarantine but have confirmed the ‘test to release scheme’ will continue – only requiring a test after day 5 and end the quarantine early.
Red ?: when arriving back to the UK it will be a requirement to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel (as currently), a pre-departure PCR test (in resort), and PCR tests when staying at the hotel on days 2 and 8.