The United Kingdom government aims to reopen foreign and leisure travel this coming May but under a traffic light system that will assign countries into three categories: green, amber, or red, depending on the COVID-19 risk.
The system will give light to people hoping for a summer holiday abroad this year and will guide travelers about what safety measures they should follow, which will vary depending on what color the country they will travel to falls under.
Destinations belonging to the “green list” are those that are deemed safe enough for travel without the need for quarantine and self-isolation.
Arrivals from “amber” countries are considered medium risk from coronavirus, while the countries under “red” have the highest risk in terms of transmissions and variants.
Which countries are on the green list?
Confirmation is still pending but it has been hinted that these countries will be on the Green List based on vaccination levels and COVID-19 cases.
Green List for Travel UK
- New Zealand
- Portugal (excluding the Azores),
- Spain’s Canary Islands
- Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu, and Crete
- United States of America
According to the UK’s government, the list about which countries will fall into which colour will be set out by early May and confirm whether or not travel can resume May 17 at the earliest.
It is expected that only a few countries are likely to be included when May comes around. These include the United States, Gibraltar, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.
However, it does not necessarily mean that travelers are permitted to travel in countries under the green list as some may not open their borders yet.
Currently, Ireland is confirmed as a foreign country under the “green” status, which will not require a coronavirus test and quarantine for arrivals to the UK from the Republic.
People traveling from countries under the green list would be able to enjoy their time without restrictions, including quarantine measures and taking a Covid-19 test. However, they will need to take a lateral flow test which can provide results in 30 minutes.
The test will be free and available for everyone, including those without symptoms upon returning to the UK. As part of the UK government’s effort in expanding its testing program to reopen society and kickstart the economy, two lateral flow covid tests will be offered to people in England.
Travelers would need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before the second day of their arrival in the UK without the need to quarantine. However, if they test positive for COVID-19, they will need to self-isolate.
What is the “Green Watchlist”?
The government will introduce a “green watchlist” to update people about the possibility of destinations categorized as green to move to amber or red. It will serve as an additional measure to identify countries most at risk to move from low to high-risk.
Countries under the watchlist will be under constant supervision and review. As the list of countries under the green list, countries included in the watchlist will also be revealed in early May.
The list will help prevent abrupt changes should countries and regions change their travel restrictions without much notice, giving passengers certainty and will ensure that travel is as safe as possible.
What are the criteria for a nation to be on the green list?
Countries would be categorized based on risks such as the rate of infections and percentage of people’s population that has been vaccinated, variants of concern, and the access to reliable genomic sequencing and scientific data, which will enable identifying variants of concern.
For a nation to be on the green list, it should have as follows:
- A reliable data of infection rates which can show a steady and sustainable decline.
- A competent vaccination program with a high take-up rate.
- An insignificant prevalence of variant of concerns.
More information about the Traffic Light System
The UK’s Traffic Light System will categorize countries based on their risk for spreading COVID-19 under colors green, amber, or red. Present quarantine and testing measures would remain in place for travelers entering the United Kingdom, but with some differences depending on the colors below:
Green – Arrivals from countries under the green list, which is considered the safest level, will have to take a COVID-19 test before departing to the United Kingdom and a PCR test on or before return in the UK. Quarantine and self-isolation will not be required unless they tested positive for the virus.
Amber – Those arriving in the UK from countries under the amber list will need to quarantine for ten days and are required to show proof of a negative PCR test result upon arrival. Two further tests are necessary after returning on or before their second day in the UK. Those who want to end their quarantine period short are eligible for the test to release the program by testing negative on their fifth day in the UK.
Red – Countries under the red list are considered with the highest risk of spreading COVID-19. Arrivals from red countries will have to follow restrictions currently in place for “red list” countries. Safety measures to be followed include 10-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel, pre-departure testing, and PCR swab test on the second and eighth day in the UK.
Post-arrival testings remain an essential tool as part of the UK’s broader measures in managing the risk of imported cases, allowing them to monitor positive tests and ensure people isolate, as well as identify sequence variants of concern.
The government will work with the travel industry and testing providers ahead of the potential reopening of international travel to find ways to reduce travel costs for the British public further while ensuring that travel remains as safe as possible.
Red list travel ban countries
According to the UK Governments website the following countries are considered “Red List” Travel ban countries. You will have to quarantine in a hotel if you have been in or passed through any of these countries.
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
What is a Travel Certification?
As the UK government said that international travel could recommence from May 17, 2021, various plans have been set out for admitting visitors according to their vaccination status. Part of the plan is to play a leading role in developing international standards for a digital travel certification program.
Travel certification or a fit to fly covid test can be a simple and secure system that can help travelers navigate various restrictions smoothly while protecting privacy.
Where can I get a Private COVID-19 Testing?
Harley Medic International offers private, and at PCR Tests for travel and work, and they have many locations across the UK. A professional team carries out their PCR testing, and results can be available in less than 48 hours in most cases.