Global Travel Taskforce outlines path to restart international travel

The UK's Global Travel Taskforce has published its framework outlining a three-tier traffic light system enabling international travel to restart from 17 May 2021 at the earliest.

3-tier traffic light system enabling international travel to restart © EastWest Imaging - Fotolia.com
3-tier traffic light system enabling international travel to restart © EastWest Imaging - Fotolia.com

Under the traffic light system, countries will be categorised into tiers based on criteria such as the rate of new COVID-19 infections and vaccination rollout along with the prevalence of variants and the country's access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

  Green Amber Red
Pre-departure test in destination Required Required Required
Test on arrival in the UK PCR test on or before day 2 PCR test - day 2 & 8 PCR test - day 2 & 8
Quarantine on arrival in the UK Not required 10 days at home - Test to Release on day 5 10 days in quarantine hotel at cost*

*Non-UK and non-Irish residents cannot enter the UK from red list countries.

The list of countries and their tiers will be announced by early May along with further details about the return of international travel.

There will also be a 'green watchlist' for countries that are at risk at moving up to 'Amber' to avoid the last minute changes seen in summer 2020.

If you are returning to the UK from a red-listed country it is important you book a 'quarantine package' well in advance of your date of travel. Likewise before returning from amber or green-listed countries you will need to book a 'test package' from the list of government approved suppliers.

Testing will be a key feature of the traffic light system along with quarantine if arriving into the UK from amber or red-listed destinations. Questions remain over the cost of testing but the government has said it is looking into options to ensure the cost of PCR tests are maintained at affordable levels.

In a statement, transport secretary Grant Shapps said: "We will work with the travel industry and private testing providers ahead of international travel reopening to see how we can further reduce the cost of travel for the British public while ensuring travel is as safe as possible."

"This could include cheaper tests being used when holidaymakers return home, as well as whether the government would be able to provide pre-departure tests."

In a bid to ensure an effective form of track and trace that can keep the borders open, the government announced it is planning to digitise the passenger locator form, integrating it with the UK border system from autumn 2021. There is also mention of a digital travel certification system, which the UK government is working on with other countries.

Learn more about the current rate of new COVID-19 infections and the vaccination rollout in popular holiday destinations around the world plus the latest international travel restrictions and options for testing.

Posted on Friday 9 April 2021

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