From 17 May the blanket ban on recreational foreign travel is being lifted in England. It has been a long wait to find out where we can go on holiday and so far there are just 12 countries on the list with only one of them being a traditional holiday hotspot – Portugal.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted at the Downing Street Conference today that proceeding cautiously is vital. He said:
“Our success in combatting Covid here is not yet replicated abroad. Most notably in India. Nobody wants to go back into lockdown, not ever”.
The Global Travel Taskforce has come up with a traffic light system to indicate which countries are safe to visit (green list) and do not require quarantine on the return back to the UK which will need self-isolation at home (amber list and which should not be visited unless under extreme circumstances (red list). Returning from a red list country means undergoing 11 days of quarantine in an approved hotel at a cost of £1750.
Consequently, in the immediate future, mass tourism has been stifled in order to avoid the risk of variants turning up in the UK.
Green List: 12 countries
Countries on the green list, and there are a precious few, have the most relaxed travel restrictions with no need to quarantine when returning to the UK. Naturally, this makes these countries the most attractive for holidaymakers, assuming of course that their borders are open to British visitors. Countries on the green list are:
- Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Israel, US, Brunei Australia New Zealand, Iceland, Singapore Barbados and Sri Lanka, Faroe Islands, Falklands, South Georgia & South Sandwick Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island & Tristan de Cunha.
Spain France and Greece have been placed on the amber list and will remain there until at least the next review in three weeks’ time.
Countries on the red list should not be visited and only British nationals and residents will be able to enter the UK when travelling from a red list country. All others are banned from entering the UK, even if they have only visited in the last 10 days.
- Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Are there any Green List restrictions?
While travellers will not need to quarantine when they return to the UK they will still have to show a negative Covid test result taken before departing for the UK taken within 72 hours of arriving into the UK. This could be a lateral flow and rapid antigen test as well as a PCR test.
How are green list countries vetted?
This green list is a coveted list and many countries will be vying to get on to it. To do so they will have to show a low rate of coronavirus infections, a high rate of vaccinations, and no prevalence of virus variants of concern such as the UK’s own variant, named B.1.1.7, South Africa variant (1.351) and Brazil (P.1). This last “contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognised by antibodies,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).