UK Holidays Traffic Light System for Foreign Holidays.
UK Traffic Light System for Foreign Holidays – update 9th April 2021
The latest information on the UK traffic light system and reopening foreign / international travel was set out by the Global Travel Taskforce today. The recommendations include a new traffic light system, a green watchlist of countries and the introduction of travel certification.
The publication states: “A traffic light system, which will categorise countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel, will be set up to protect the public and the vaccine rollout from international COVID-19 variants.” The report again mentions that the earliest international travel will restart for holidays is 17th May 2021.
The proposed traffic light system:
- Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
- Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
- Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8
The government also says it will work with the travel industry and private testing providers ahead of international travel reopening, to see if it can reduce the cost of travel for the British public. The cost of the “gold standard” PCR tests is currently much higher that lateral flow tests and will add greatly to the cost of a holiday for British families.
We don’t yet know which countries will be on the green list. The report also states : “It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer, and the government continues to consider a range of factors to inform the restrictions placed on them. We will set out by early May which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can resume from 17 May 2021.”
Other key details in the traffic light announcement:
“To give passengers more certainty when travelling, a ‘green watchlist’ will be introduced to help identify countries most at risk of moving from ‘green’ to ‘amber’. The watchlist will provide greater assurance for those who wish to travel abroad.
While the watchlist will warn travellers of potential changes in advance, the government will not hesitate to act immediately should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed.
The allocation of countries will be kept under review and respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on variants of concern.
Restrictions will be formally reviewed on 28 June 2021 to take account of the domestic and international health picture, and to see whether current measures could be rolled back. Further formal reviews will take place at checkpoints no later than 31 July and 1 October 2021.
To ensure the UK’s borders remain safe and efficient when passenger flows increase, the government has also announced plans to digitise the passenger locator form, integrating it into the UK border system and enabling checks to take place at e-gates by Autumn 2021.”
Link detail – Global Travel Taskforce
We will keep this article updated as we know more.
Statement on latest travel announcement from TUI UK 8th April 2021:
Andrew Flintham, Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland, “Whilst the traffic light system will allow overseas travel to take place from 17 May, we remain disappointed about the expensive testing and quarantine measures proposed.
“We’re firmly committed to finding cost effective testing solutions for our customers, as well as offering maximum flexibility, so we can make travel possible this summer and beyond.
“Customers due to travel between the 17 May and the end of July are already able to change their holiday to another date for free. Our TUI holiday promise also allows customers who are not able to quarantine on return, or pay for tests, to change their holiday to a later date.
“We believe that travel will be able to take place this summer and we will continue to work with the Government to make this possible.”
Background – UK Traffic Light System for Foreign Holidays
The idea of a UK Holidays Traffic Light System for travel abroad this Summer 2021 has been the subject of much coverage in the UK press and online. The possibility of foreign travel being opened up and restrictions based on the perceived risk with a red, amber or green rating. The method used to rate the risk may include the rates of vaccination in destination countries, the levels of infection and the number of coronavirus variants in circulation. Currently travel abroad except for very limited essential reasons is illegal from the UK, but the government is expected to release details of its plans to start reopening foreign travel for holidays and non-essential reasons. Although the date for opening up foreign travel had been set at 17 May, there has been much speculation in the press that this may not happen until July.
There has also been much discussion of a vaccine passport for those who have had both vaccinations, allowing them to travel and whether a negative coronavirus test will be required before re-entry to the UK. Strict travel bans may still be in place for “red” risk countries and the possibility of testing requirements and quarantine on return for “amber” risk countries, there may also be testing and the possibility of quarantine for return from “green” rated countries. It should be noted that the risk category of countries may be changed with only a few hours notice. The government’s global travel task-force has been considering the various possibilities and what testing / quarantining will be required.
The current rules on foreign travel from the UK may be found here:
Individual countries will also have their own legal requirements on coronavirus vaccination and covid-19 testing, as well as rules for masks, gatherings and behaviour, social-distancing etc.
Before booking a foreign holiday this year make sure you have read the relevant policies of the travel company with regards to refunds, cancellation, re-booking and changes to government rules on travel. Always ensure you have the necessary holiday, travel and medical insurance.
For your convenience these are the policies of some leading travel companies:
- TUI Holidays Summer 2021 holiday information – Click Here
- First Choice Holidays Summer 2021 holiday information – Click Here
- Marella Cruises Holidays Summer 2021 holiday information – Click Here
- Jet2holidays Summer 2021 travel information – Click Here