Testing capacity can't meet international travel needs says expert
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The Government is in the midst of determining which countries will be added to the so-called green list – meaning Britons can travel abroad without needing to quarantine on return. International travel will be permitted from the UK from May 17, with countries categorised in a traffic light system depending on their Covid risk.
Green list countries will require Covid tests both before and after travel – with the test upon return taking place within 72 hours.
Travel to amber listed countries will require 10 days of mandatory isolation at home, with PCR tests on day two and eight.
There will also be the option to pay for a Covid test on day five to stop quarantine early.
And red-listed countries will not be permitted to fly to directly, with anyone returning to the UK from a red list country having to quarantine for 11 days in a hotel at a cost of up to £1,750 per person.
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So when will green list countries be announced?
As yet there has been no official date given for a travel update, however, it is believed to be imminent.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on April 9, the full list of countries would be revealed two or three weeks later.
The Government has missed this deadline, but an announcement in early May is expected.
This means anytime from now until around May 14 the green list countries are likely to be outlined.
Express.co.uk will update this page with more information when it has been revealed.
Some MPs are pushing for the list to be announced as soon as possible in order to give the travel industry enough time to prepare for the May 17 date.
However, MPs in the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus have urged the Government to “discourage all international leisure travel”.
This is due to concerns around the danger of importing new variants to the UK, which they said could “lead to further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life”.
Which countries will be on the green list?
Again, as the list has not been announced any countries potentially joining is purely speculation.
Experts have been examining Covid data based on the four criteria the Government is using to categorise countries in order to make predictions.
The four criteria are
- The proportion of vaccinations undertaken
- Covid infection rates
- Prevalence rates
- The prominence of variants of concern
Based on these, there are several countries which experts have said are likely to be placed on the green list:
- The Caribbean
- New Zealand
- The USA
- Spanish islands including the Canaries
- Greek islands including Crete and Santorini
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However, this does not mean these countries will be free to travel to – as each may have its own rules on who can enter, and how entry will be permitted.
At the time of writing, there are strict rules for entering the USA, with anyone flying from the UK within 14 days of entry not permitted.
Equally, Iceland has entry requirements, with travellers allowed who are
- Fully vaccinated and can show proof, or
- Already recovered from the virus and can show proof of a positive PCR test, older than 14 days
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Which countries will be on the red list?
Again, there is no definitive ‘red list’ from May 17 as yet, but travel has been banned from the UK and vice versa from several countries.
India is one of these, where a recent surge in Covid cases has devastated the country and put pressure on hospitals nationwide.
Countries are sending medical supplies to India in a bid to combat the mounting cases and lack of integral Covid treatments like oxygen.
Currently, British nationals travelling from countries on the banned list can enter the UK – but must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
These countries are:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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