HOLIDAYS will be able to go ahead this summer, the government has confirmed, with a new traffic light system opening up countries without travel restrictions.
Under the scheme countries will be classified as either green, amber, or red, depending on the state of the pandemic and rate of vaccinations.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has ditched the official advice not to plan foreign trips for the first time.
He confirmed that the countries on the green list would be revealed in “two or three weeks,” adding: “For the first time people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer holiday.”
Since February, we have known that international travel would start no earlier than May 17.
The new system being discussed would use a three-colour guide to mandate what restrictions travellers would face depending on the risk.
Countries on the “green” list would be able to travel without quarantine restrictions and would require a pre-flight Covid test as well as a PCR test on day two of returning to the UK.
“Amber” countries would require a negative Covid test before arrival in the UK, plus two further tests once in the country and a ten-day quarantine at home.
Then arrivals from “red list countries would have to isolate at a quarantine hotel for 10 days, at a cost of £1,750.
While we haven’t been given the details of which countries could be on the green list, there are a number of destinations in with a chance as they have kept their cases low or whose vaccination drives are progressing quickly.
According to research by The PC Agency, countries which could be put on the lowest risk list include Malta and Portugal, both of which have kept cases low, while Malta is the leading EU destination for the vaccine.
Also in Europe, Gibraltar and Greece could also make the green list.
Israel is likely to be on the list, with 60 per cent of the population having their first jab, while the US could even make the green list with hopes for a UK-US travel corridor.
The Caribbean and the UAE may also make the cut while Spain and Italy may also be able to join from June if their jabs programmes progress well.
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Mr Shapps advised people only to travel to green countries and said he’s looking at ways to “drive down” the costs of testing.
He said one idea is for the Government to provide holidaymakers with cheaper lateral flow tests before they travel – which they can then use abroad before getting on the plane.
And he also added ministers are trying to see how they can drive down the price of the return PCR tests, which are used to sequence variants from abroad.