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Foreign holiday hotspots 'to be graded under traffic light system'
1 April 2021, 23:42
Foreign getaway destinations will be ranked under a traffic light system, with fewer restrictions tied to the places boasting the lowest coronavirus rates and high vaccination take-up, it has been reported.
Countries will be graded either green, amber or red, according to how well they are coping with the pandemic, it was claimed.
Hesitancy towards the vaccine across parts of mainland Europe may mean that favoured continental destinations among British holidaymakers are deemed more high-risk than the likes of the US and Israel, where vaccination rates are good.
Overseas holidays are currently banned due to the UK's coronavirus lockdown measures, but Boris Johnson plans to make an announcement on Easter Monday about lifting restrictions in England.
The Times reported that travel to and from so-called red-list countries will be banned, although the Sun newspaper said those arriving back in the UK from such destinations will have to pay to stay at quarantine hotels, as is the current set-up for the worst affected countries.
Both newspapers said green-listed countries would be exempt from quarantine measures.
Any restrictions could put further pressure on Britons to shun international travel in favour of a domestic holiday, amid concerns leaving the UK could increase the risk of introducing mutant coronavirus strains.
Scientific experts have repeatedly said summer staycations should be encouraged over foreign holidays this year.
It comes as Boris Johnson suggested domestic coronavirus "passport" showing whether someone has antibodies or a negative test "will be useful for us as we go forward".
There will "definitely" be a role for vaccine passports for international travel, he said.
The Prime Minister's comments came after the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, indicated that the British instinct could be against a form of vaccine passport showing if someone had received a jab.
The Government is reviewing the issues around Covid-status certification and Mr Johnson said it was important to give "maximum confidence" to firms and customers.
Any scheme is likely to go beyond just showing whether someone has had a vaccine - as jabs are not mandatory - but would also cover whether they have had Covid-19, and so are likely to have antibodies, or if they have a negative recent test.
On an international level, some countries are already working on requirements for people to proving their status before arriving - the European Union is working on a digital green certificate showing if someone is vaccinated, has a negative test or has recovered from Covid-19.