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UK green list: Will more countries be added in the next travel review?

·5-min read
Makenzi beach in southern city of Larnaca, Cyprus (AP)
Makenzi beach in southern city of Larnaca, Cyprus (AP)

No new destinations were added tothe green travel list in the last government review in early June.

It was hoped that summer hotspots such as Spanish and Greek islands plus Malta would be awarded green status, allowing quarantine-free travel there.

However no new additions were made and Portugal was moved to the amber list - to the dismay of thousands of UK tourists who had their holiday plans ruined.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps raised concerns about the Nepal coronavirus mutation which may be resistant to vaccines and rising cases.

Portugal’s infection rate had been doubling since it was moved to the green list on May 17. UK travellers who did not meet the June 8 deadline to return to Britain faced having to isolate for ten days.

Sri Lanka, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago were also added to the red list requiring isolation in a Government-approved hotel.

Santorini, Greek islands (Russell_Yan / Pixabay)
Santorini, Greek islands (Russell_Yan / Pixabay)

What changes have been made to international travel?

Despite earlier speculation that Malta, and some Spanish and Greek islands would be added to the green list there were no new additions in the last travel review.

Portugal was moved to the amber list.

It means people returning from Portugal will have to isolate for ten days.

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

What countries are currently on the green travel list?

The green list currently consists of Israel, Gibraltar, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands and the Falklands.

This is in addition to the remote territories of the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.

Despite being on the green list, people are currently unable to go on holiday to Australia, New Zealand or Singapore as they are closed to UK tourists.

How does the traffic light system work?

Green: Travellers must take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back into England. Holidaymakers who test negative will not need to quarantine on their return or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests post holiday.

Amber: Arrivals must quarantine for ten days. People must take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight with the option for “test to release” on day five to end self-isolation early. It was disclosed on June 17 that the government is considering waiving the quarantine rules for UK travellers who have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Boris Johnson’s spokesman said no decision has been made on the move, which would revive holiday hopes for millions of frustrated people in the UK.

Red: Those returning from red list countries must stay in a managed quarantine hotel for ten days which they should book before their trip. Travellers must complete pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and day eight.

Any advice on what to do in green list countries?

Here is our guide on what to eat, see and do in Tel Aviv.

For Gibraltar you can use this guide.

Travellers wanting to jet off to Iceland can follow this road trip and then check out Deplar Farm one of best spas in the world.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

What you need to know about PCR tests

PCR tests must be booked through an approved Government provider.

Tests currently cost between £120 and £160, however ministers are looking at ways to reduce the price to just £45 to help boost the travel industry.

Mr Shapps told the Commons in April that one provider said they could offer the tests for £44.90 each.

What countries are currently on the red list?

Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bangladesh, India, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Turkey and the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago and Afghanistan.

When will the next travel review take place?

The green, amber and red destination lists are due to be updated on June 24. The government said in April it would review travel policy before the end of June.

Will any more countries be added to the green list?

There are plenty of popular holiday destinations with Covid-19 rates that are currently lower than the UK’s. They include Italy, the USA, Malta and the Balearic islands. However that is only one of the factors taken into consideration when experts from the Joint Biosecurity centre make their recommendations to ministers.

Vaccination rates, variants in the country, and how good they are at genomic sequencing are also important factors. Ultimately, the decision is taken by the government - which may also consider the ability of airports to swiftly process thousands of returning holidaymakers and not present a risk of triggering new outbreaks.

What is a quarantine hotel and how much does it cost?

To prevent the spread of Covid-19 and potentially harmful variants into the UK, people who have travelled from or passed through a red list country must self-isolate in government-approved quarantine hotel.

Travellers must complete ten days of quarantine which begins at 0.01am on the first day after arrival.

A Covid test must be taken on day two and day eight. Guests are permitted to leave the hotel after completing ten full days provided they test negative for the virus.

Transport is provided from the airport to the hotel and passengers who have parked at the airport will need to extend their parking period.

Full board is provided as part of the quarantine package including three daily meals, fresh fruit, tea, coffee, soft drinks and water.

Travellers must pay £1,750 for their stay, with an additional rate of £650 for children over 12 and £325 for children between five and 12-years-old.

There is no additional cost for children under five.

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