Foreign holidays look likely to resume this month


Will your favourite destination be on the ‘green list’? Foreign holidays look set to resume on May 17 as Ministers prepare to reveal where quarantine-free travel will be allowed to and from

  • Aim is to move to traffic light system with countries listed as green, amber or red 
  • People travelling to ‘green’ countries will not need to quarantine on return unless they test positive for Covid
  • Arrivals from ‘amber’ countries must quarantine for 10 days – unless they take a test on day five to be released early 
  • People returning from ‘red’ countries must stay in quarantine hotel for 10 days at their own expense 

Foreign holidays look set to resume this month as the Government prepares to reveal the ‘green list’ next week.

Ministers are poised to decide next week that foreign holidays can resume from May 17, the next stage at which restrictions ease.

But quarantine-free travel will only be possible to a handful of countries even if the blanket ban on travel is removed. 

Foreign holidays look set to resume this month as the Government prepares to reveal the ‘green list’ next week. Ministers are poised to decide next week that foreign holidays can resume from May 17, the next stage at which restrictions ease

And Government sources stressed that no final decisions have been made on which countries will make the so-called ‘green list’.

Ministers are said to be confident about progressing to the next stage of the roadmap, which earmarks May 17 as the earliest date when international travel could resume.

They hope to move to a traffic light system with countries listed as either green, amber or red.

People travelling to ‘green’ countries will not need to quarantine on their return unless they test positive for coronavirus. 

Quarantine-free travel will only be possible to a handful of countries even if the blanket ban on travel is removed. And Government sources stressed that no final decisions have been made on which countries will make the so-called 'green list'

Quarantine-free travel will only be possible to a handful of countries even if the blanket ban on travel is removed. And Government sources stressed that no final decisions have been made on which countries will make the so-called ‘green list’

Arrivals from ‘amber’ countries will need to quarantine for 10 days – unless they take a test on day five to be released early.

Deadline missed for release of holiday lists 

A deadline for grading countries under the new traffic light system for international travel has been missed by the Government.

The Commons’ Transport Select Committee issued a report last week which stated that the green, amber and red lists of destinations must be published by Saturday ‘at the latest’, but this has not happened.

Instead, the Department for Transport has only said the lists will be made public in ‘early May’.

The ban on overseas leisure travel is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 as part of the next easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The traffic light system will be risk-based, with different rules for people returning to England depending on which list their destination is on.

Many people are eager to discover what countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said the categorisation of countries is ‘the bare minimum’ that the travel industry and consumers need to make preparations for May 17, and the lack of information means they are ‘still in the dark’.

He went on: ‘Uncertainty has been prolonged. This uncertainty could cost people their jobs.

‘How can it be right that countries with slower vaccination roll-outs are safely reopening to international travellers while the UK stays static?

‘The Government is in danger of squandering the opportunity to take advantage of the UK’s world-leading vaccine dividend as countries across the globe begin to open up for international travel.’

People returning from ‘red’ countries will need to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days at their own expense. 

A number of criteria will be used to determine which category a country falls into, including vaccination data and infection levels.

A source said: ‘We are keeping a tough border policy in place but if we think travel can be conducted safely with particular countries then we are looking to take the next step on the roadmap in that direction.’

The Global Travel Taskforce, which last month made recommendations on how travel could resume, has said the restrictions will be formally reviewed on June 28.

Further formal reviews would take place no later than July 31 and October 1, it said.

International holidays are currently prohibited, and passengers must prove they have a valid reason to leave the country.

The Commons’ Transport Select Committee issued a report last week which stated that the green, amber and red lists of destinations must be published by Saturday ‘at the latest’, but this has not happened.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said the categorisation of countries is the bare minimum’ that the travel industry and consumers need to make preparations for May 17, and the lack of information means they are ‘still in the dark’.

He went on: ‘Uncertainty has been prolonged. This uncertainty could cost people their jobs.

‘How can it be right that countries with slower vaccination roll-outs are safely reopening to international travellers while the UK stays static?

‘The Government is in danger of squandering the opportunity to take advantage of the UK’s world-leading vaccine dividend as countries across the globe begin to open up for international travel.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave an upbeat assessment of the easing of lockdown restrictions earlier this week.

‘As things stand I think we’ve got a very good chance of really opening up totally on June 21. But we’ve got to be cautious and go on the data, not the dates.’

He said that ‘nobody wants to go into a lockdown but they’ve helped us. The discipline the public has shown has helped us to get the numbers of cases down very considerably’.

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