UK Traffic Light System for Travel: Which Countries are Green, Amber, and Red?

UK Traffic Light System for Travel

Written by Adonis Hakk

April 30, 2021

As the United Kingdom strives to emerge from lockdown, the government plans to recommence international travel with the introduction of a “traffic-light” system. , non-essential international travel can resume amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The system will outline rules for quarantine and testing protocols and provide clear guidance for travelers. People can now plan for foreign holidays abroad and a trip overseas while being cautiously guided by the traffic light system.

What is the UK’s Traffic Light System?

A system that will categorize countries based on risks from COVID-19 alongside the restrictions required for travel. The UK government set this out as part of the plan to lift the current restrictions on non-essential international travel to control the transmission of the virus.

According to the government, the new system will help ensure that the UK’s vaccine progress will not be jeopardized and provide clear guidance for travelers. Several measures would remain effective under the proposed scheme, including restrictions for inbound passengers, ten-day managed quarantine, home quarantine, and strict testing.

However, the rules may vary depending on which destination visited as the system categorizes counties under red, amber, and green.

Green – Countries under ‘green’ are lower-risk destinations. Whilst explaining destinations designated as ‘green’ have a high rate of vaccination rates with lower infection rates and with the absence of new variants of COVID-19. People embarking to travel to low-risk “green” countries can simply take a Covid-19 test before and after travel. Travelers will not have to quarantine unless they tested positive.
Currently, most foreign travel destinations are designated as either “amber” or “red” for the risk of COVID-19 with more strict rules for testing and quarantine measures.

Amber – Passengers who are located at an “amber” destination must quarantine for ten days on arrival. Otherwise, they will not gain permission to enter the UK. They may take a coronavirus test any day after their arrival or opt for a “test to release” on the fifth day of the quarantine period that will enable them to end self-isolation early.

Red – Countries categorized as “red” are high-risk, which requires all travelers arriving from a “red” destination to quarantine at a government-approved hotel. They are subjected to current restrictions in place for “red list” countries, including pre-departure testing and two PCR tests on days 2 and 8, in addition to ten-day quarantine at a managed hotel.

Which countries are on the lists?

Currently, the countries included in the traffic light system are yet to be finalized, and it is too early to determine which countries will be on which list. Additionally, the government added that it is possible for countries to move in-between the red, amber, and green lists depending on the data.

There is still no set-list of which countries will be in which color in the color system. However, the list is expected to set out by early May alongside the confirmation of whether international travel can resume. It is best to keep updated and regularly check for changes before traveling.

Should I continue my travel plans?

There is still no set-list of places and countries where people can visit for leisure as restrictions and safety measures vary from one place to another. It is sensible to wait for the government to announce the list of countries along with their designated color under the traffic light system before booking.


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