Coronavirus: Seven new locations to join travel green list freeing Brits from quarantine
Seven new locations will be added to the UK’s travel green list next week following the latest government update.
The additions will provide more quarantine-free holiday options for Brits, as international travel continues to gradually open back up.
Which countries will be added to the green list?
Canada’s addition will likely increase the number of Canadian visitors to the UK, but the North American country still has an entry ban in place for British nationals.
The changes will mean that travellers arriving in England from these destinations will not have to self-isolate, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.
However, it is still a requirement to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test and day two tests when travelling to these locations, as well as completing a passenger locator form.
Scotland and Northern Ireland will adopt the same updated rules, while the Welsh government is yet to confirm if it will follow suit.
The small number of destinations on the green list has come under fire by the travel industry, with Airlines UK, the industry body representing UK-registered carriers, saying current restrictions are making international travel from the UK “more expensive, burdensome and uncertain compared to our neighbours”.
A spokesman said: “Too many families are having to look over their shoulders for rule changes and pay through the nose for tests, with no sign from government that this will change.
“As has already happened across Europe, it’s time for a more proportionate system where tests are dropped for the fully vaccinated and from destinations where Covid risks are low, with tougher measures targeted at a small number of high risk countries.”
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ chief executive, also called for an end to strict testing requirements due to the high costs.
Mr Doyle said: “Despite our world-leading vaccination programme, the UK’s economic recovery remains far behind our more pragmatic European neighbours, which are already reaping the rewards of a rapid recovery.
“It cannot be right that although 77 per cent of us have been fully vaccinated we have a much more costly, prohibitive and restrictive testing regime than everyone else, when data suggests just four out of every 1,000 travellers tests positive for coronavirus on their return to the UK, less than the overall rate at home.
“These stats strongly suggest PCR tests should only be needed following a positive lateral flow test.
“We also need to urgently end the uncertainty caused by the constant threat of changes to countries’ traffic light status.
“Our green list is much smaller than that of the US and EU, despite no new variants being transported into the UK.”
However, shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon warned that “any loosening of restrictions carries with it risks, particularly from variants that could undermine the progress we have made on vaccines”.
What about the amber and red lists?
Thailand and Montenegro will both be added to the travel red list from Monday, meaning arrivals must enter a quarantine hotel for 11 days and take mandatory Covid tests, at a cost of more than £2,000.
The change comes due to the increase in coronavirus rates in these countries, posing a higher risk to UK public health.
The government explained: “The high rates combined with lower levels of published genomic surveillance in Thailand and Montenegro than other countries mean that an outbreak of a new variant or existing variants of concern (VOC) or variants under investigation (VUI) cannot be easily identified before it is imported and seeded across the UK.”
As for the amber list, no new additions were made in the latest update, meaning popular tourist spots, including Spain, France and Greece, still have quarantine restrictions in place for unvaccinated travellers.
Those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 must self-isolate at home for 10 days after returning from an amber list country, and must take one pre-departure test and two post-arrival tests.
If you have been fully vaccinated, you do not have to self-isolate but must still take a coronavirus test in the three days before travel, a test after arrival, and fill out a passenger locator form.