Foreign travel 'traffic light' countries list to be revealed in early May

1 May 2021, 09:13 | Updated: 1 May 2021, 12:46

The full list of countries on the 'traffic light' system has been delayed
The full list of countries on the 'traffic light' system has been delayed. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A deadline for grading countries under a new "traffic light" system for international travel has been missed by the government.

A report from MPs last week said the list of destinations should be published today 'at the latest', but the deadline has passed with ministers delaying the announcement for the lists of green, amber and red destinations for foreign travel.

A report last week by the Commons' Transport Select Committee said the lists of destinations should be published by Saturday 1 May "at the latest."

The Department for Transport has now said the lists will be made public in “early May”.

Foreign travel is expected to be allowed again after May 17th, but only green list areas will need no quarantine time.

Travel firm Jet2 suspended flights and holidays until late June over the uncertainty.

Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, said the delay could depend on the success of nations vaccine rollouts. He said: "The Spanish for example aim to have 70pc of their population vaccinated by the end of the summer.

"And the Greeks, they've done something quite interesting, they are targeting their vaccination programme towards the islands, particularly people who work in hotels, and restaurants."

The ban on overseas leisure travel is expected to be lifted for people in England from May 17 in accordance with the Government's roadmap.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The Government has not missed a deadline - we have always said we will confirm by early May if international travel can resume on 17 May and which countries will fall into which list.

"This will determine the requirements for travel for passengers.

“The Taskforce is working toward restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way, to allow families and friends to reunite, and businesses to start thriving again, while ensuring we protect public health.”

What is the traffic light system?

The plans suggest people arriving home from abroad will still be subject to rules such as home quarantine and strict testing, but these will be differently applied depending on which category the country is in.

In Green destinations, arrivals will have to take a pre-departure test and another PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK. No quarantine or additional tests will be needed unless a positive result comes back.

In Amber countries, arrivals must quarantine for 10 days, take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight after their return, with the option of a "test to release" on day five to end self-isolation early.

For Red destinations, travel to these countries will be restricted along the same lines as the Government's current "red list", meaning returning travellers must stay for 10 days in a quarantine hotel, as well as take a pre-departure test and a further PCR test on day two and day eight after returning.