International travel has resumed for UK residents since May this year. The UK government introduced a traffic light system that categorises countries under green, amber, and red. Each colour has different rules regarding coronavirus testing and quarantine protocols.
Since July 19, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced and confirmed that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine or self-isolate when returning from amber list countries, including children under 18 years of age.
However, the rule does not apply to travellers returning from France. It means they will have to quarantine at home for ten days and take PCR tests, regardless of vaccination status.
What Does It Mean If A Country Is Under The Amber List Category?
The UK traffic light system includes a list of countries under the colours green, amber, and red signifying different rules for testing and quarantine. While fully jabbed UK residents travelling back from amber countries will not need to quarantine as mentioned above. But those who have yet to get complete vaccination doses and people returning from France must still follow existing rules for testing and quarantine until further notice.
Countries on the amber list will need to take one pre-departure coronavirus test. Upon arrival in the UK, travellers must quarantine at home for ten days. They will also need to take the PCR Covid-19 test on days two and eight of quarantine/ arrival back in the UK.
Travellers can opt for the test to release scheme if they want to end their self-isolation early. As standard, people travelling back from the government’s amber list must self-isolate for ten days unless they pay for a private PCR test. The test programme is taken on the fifth day upon arrival in the UK and the mandatory day 2 and 8 testing.
What Countries Are On The Amber List?
Currently, most of the world’s countries are on the amber list, including popular destinations such as Japan, Italy, Spain, and the US. European countries aim to speed up their vaccination rollouts as many people have still only been given their first dose.
As such, they have yet to be on the green list yet, leaving many popular destinations on the amber list. See the complete amber list on the UK government website.
Is It Allowed To Visit An Amber List Country?
Yes. Although the government still advises people against spending holidays in countries not on the green list, international travel is no longer illegal. Since Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the change in quarantine rules on travel to amber list countries, travel for leisure, business, or to visit family members has also been allowed.
Additionally, the government no longer stipulates evidence or proof of essential reason to travel and go abroad, regardless of the target destination, whether it is under green, amber, or red countries.
Can Amber List Countries Go Green or Red?
The UK traffic light system is reviewed every three weeks. Depending on the changes in a country, it can move from being amber to green or amber to red. If a certain country under the amber list manages to lower COVID-19 cases, speed up their vaccination rollouts, and no variants of concerns are found, they could be added to the green list.
There are also countries under the green list of travel at the risk of moving to amber. Before travelling, people should find out which countries are under the green watchlist to ensure that their destination is safe, and they will be able to prepare for any change in testing and quarantine measures.