The UK Government is expected to announce a ‘green list’ of destinations to kickstart summer holidays today.
Overseas travel has been off the cards for months, but the traffic light system – due to come into effect on May 17 – will make them possible once again.
British holidaymakers will be able to travel home from the ‘green’ countries without needing to enter quarantine.
It is expected that only a small number of countries will feature on the green list. The majority of Europe is expected to fall on the ‘amber’ list (meaning home quarantine on return to the UK) and the 40 countries on the ‘red’ list will likely remain the same.
So when will the green list be announced? And which countries are likely to be ‘green’?
How will the traffic light system work?
Holidaymakers returning from green destinations will have to take a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure, and then pay for a PCR test on or before the second day of their return to the UK (even if fully vaccinated). They will not have to quarantine.
Holidaymakers returning from “amber” countries will have to self-isolate at home for 10 days. Amber travellers will also have to have a pre-departure test and book and pay for two PCR tests on days two and eight of their home quarantine. If they want to release quarantine early, they can pay for a PCR test on day five (but will still have to take the test on the eighth day, as well).
British people returning from “red” countries have to quarantine for 10 days in government-approved hotels at a cost of £1,750 per person, with pre-departure tests and tests on days two and eight.
What is the criteria for the traffic light ratings?
The traffic light ratings are based on countries’ vaccination rates, the prevalence of Covid-19 (and especially variants), and their Covid-19 testing capability.
Which countries will be on the green list?
It is expected that only a very small number of countries will feature on the green list. Based on the criteria above, it is possible that Israel, Iceland, Gibraltar, Malta and Finland could be categorised as ‘green’, along with a handful of British overseas territories and Caribbean islands.
There are hopes that Portugal, or Portuguese islands, could be categorised as ‘green’. There are also hopes that the Canary Islands and a handful of Greek islands could be given green status from May 17.
You can see our in-depth round-up of green list predictions, here.
Which countries will be amber?
It is likely that the vast majority of countries across the world will be categorised as amber. This is expected to include the UK’s top holiday destinations, including Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Turkey.
You can see our in-depth round-up of amber list predictions, here.
Which countries will be red?
Forty countries feature on the UK’s ‘red list’. These include India, South Africa, the UAE, plus swathes of sub-Saharan Africa and the whole of South America.
You can see the full list of red list countries, here.
When will the green list be announced?
It is understood Government ministers are meeting today to discuss the traffic light system and to finalise the list. It is likely that the list will be announced at a Downing Street press conference, which typically take place at 5pm – although there are reports that it could be closer to 4pm.