‘Traffic light’ system for holidays abroad unveiled – but ‘don’t book this summer’
3 April 2021, 23:37 | Updated: April 4, 2021, 00:03
Downing Street has unveiled plans for a “traffic light” system for overseas travel, as restrictions are eased.
Downing Street has confirmed that a risk-based “traffic light” system will be introduced for overseas travel as restrictions are eased – but people in England are still advised not to book summer vacations abroad.
At the moment, all leisure travel is illegal under the “Stay in the UK” regulations and the new “traffic light” system will only take effect on 17 May at the earliest.
Announcing the measures, No. 10 said: “We want to see a safe return to international travel, but it is vital that we continue to be cautious in the light of third waves in some countries and the risk of variants of concern.”
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When travel is permitted, a red, orange or green rating will be assigned to countries, with pre-departure and post-arrival testing required from all destinations.
Travel from green countries will not require quarantine, while arrivals from red and orange countries will still be required for quarantine or self-isolation upon arrival.
Each country will be assigned a level of risk based on a number of factors, such as vaccination numbers, case rates, Covid variants and “access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing”.
However, the government warned that “it is too early to predict which countries will be included in the list during the summer”, adding: “therefore, we continue to advise people not to book summer vacations abroad”.
It is believed that vaccine reluctance in European nations could mean that they are considered a higher risk than countries with faster vaccine availability such as the US and Israel.
However, despite reports that fully vaccinated people may be able to avoid quarantine by amber countries, this does not appear to be part of the planned system.
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The hotel quarantine is expected to remain in place for the “red” countries on the list.
Travelers will still need to take the Covid test before departure and upon arrival.
Boris Johnson is expected to give more details about the plans on Monday, which come after a review by the Global Travel Taskforce.
Reacting to the criticism, the prime minister said: “We have made huge strides in recent months with our vaccine program and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage of our recovery from Covid-19.
“We are doing everything we can to reopen our country so that people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen. »
The government said all its critics would “continue to be informed of their findings in the coming weeks”.
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Under current rules in England, leaving the United Kingdom without reasonable justification risks a fine of £ 5,000.
By law, people must not “leave England to travel to a destination outside the United Kingdom or to travel or be present at a boarding point to travel from there to a destination outside the United Kingdom” without good reason.
These include work, study, elite sports, medical reasons, care and assistance to a vulnerable person or the marriage of a close family member.
There is also a 200 200 warning for not completing the travel declaration form – which gives personal details and a reason for traveling – for those planning to leave the UK.
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Rules for international travel are likely to loosen at different rates across the UK.
Last Saturday, Wales Prime Minister Mark Drakeford told LBC’s Matt Frei that he would “take a tougher approach than the UK government has so far” on overseas travel.
“Of all the things on the UK roadmap, what worries me the most is the date of May 17 for the opening of international travel.”
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He added: “The difficult time we had in Wales in September was because we had people returning to Wales from France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, bringing back the coronavirus.
“They went on summer vacations to places where the virus was more prevalent and ended up bringing it back to Wales.
“I do not want to see everything we have done in the last two months in danger of an early opening of foreign travel. This is the year to stay home – come on holiday to Wales.”