Switzerland, Canada and Denmark were among the seven countries added to the UK travel green list in the UK government’s latest update, opening up more non-quarantine holiday options for Britons.
Strict rules remain for many popular tourist spots, with Spain, France and Italy still on the Amber List – and Turkey still on the Red List.
How does the traffic light system work?
The traffic light system was introduced earlier this year to divide countries into green, amber and red lists, based on the risk of coronavirus in each location, with different rules applying to each.
Countries are categorized into green, orange, and red lists, with different quarantine restrictions and testing requirements applying to each.
For Green List countries, arrivals must pass a Covid test before departure, as well as a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return to the UK.
However, travelers will not need to self-quarantine or take additional tests, unless they test positive.
As of July 19, children and adults arriving from Amber List countries who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus do not have to be quarantined upon their return to England. They should always book and take a second day test, and self-isolate if they test positive.
Arrivals from Red List countries must stay in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days, pass a Covid test before departure and a PCR test no later than day 2, and on or after day 8.
Travelers can only enter the UK from Red List countries if they are British or Irish nationals, or have UK residence rights.
As of August 2, fully vaccinated travelers from the United States and the European Union no longer have to self-isolate when arriving in the United Kingdom from an Amber List country. The rule change was announced as the government said it would help reunite family and friends.
When will the travel lists be revised?
Travel reviews are expected to take place every three weeks, with the last update being on Thursday, August 26. The changes from the latest revision went into effect from 4 a.m. on Monday, August 30.
The next review of travel restrictions is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 16.
Any changes announced will likely go into effect from 4 a.m. on the following Sunday or Monday.
At what time will the travel announcement be made?
While no time for the next travel update has been confirmed, previous travel announcements have generally been made in the late afternoon, around 5 p.m.
However, unlike other major updates throughout the pandemic, the travel announcement tends not to be accompanied by a government press conference.
Rather, changes to the travel lists are announced on Twitter by Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps.
What are the criteria for the travel lists?
The decision on which countries are added to each list is based on a series of criteria, taking into account public health advice and the Joint Biosafety Center’s assessment of the latest Covid data.
The criteria for the lists include:
– The percentage of a country’s population that has been vaccinated – The infection rate – The prevalence of variants of concern – The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
What changes were made during the last review?
The Azores, Switzerland and Canada joined the green list on August 30, alongside Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania.
While the addition of Canada will likely see more Canadian visitors heading to the UK, the North American country still has an entry ban in place for UK nationals.
The recent changes mean that travelers arriving from these destinations no longer have to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
However, it is still mandatory to take a Covid-19 test before departure and day two tests when traveling to greenlist locations, as well as completing a passenger locator form.
Thailand and Montenegro were both added to the travel red list on August 30, which means arrivals must now stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 days and take mandatory Covid tests, at a cost of more than £ 2,000.
The change is due to the recent increase in coronavirus rates in these countries, which poses a higher risk to UK public health.
The government explained, “The high rates combined with lower levels of published genomic surveillance in Thailand and Montenegro compared to other countries mean that an outbreak of a new variant or existing variants of concern (VOC) or variants under investigation (VUI) cannot be easily identified. before it was imported and seeded across the UK.
As for the Amber List, no new additions were made in the latest update, which means popular tourist spots including Spain, France and Greece still have quarantine restrictions in place. room for unvaccinated travelers.
Those who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 must self-isolate at home for 10 days after returning from an Amber List country, and must pass one test before departure and two tests after arrival.
If you have been fully vaccinated, you do not have to self-isolate but still have to take a coronavirus test within three days before travel, a post-arrival test, and complete a passenger locator form.
When will the traffic light system be reviewed?
The traffic light system is expected to be replaced with a streamlined “to do” and “don’ts” list by October 1, with an announcement expected this week as part of the plan. government Covid winter.
The current system, which classifies countries in the green, orange or red category, would, it seems, move to a two-tier system.
The new system would allow fully vaccinated travelers to visit countries with vaccination levels as high as the UK, without having to self-quarantine.
This so-called “take-out” list would probably include countries currently classified in the green or orange category. The red list category, which is in place for countries whose government says it should not be visited, is expected to stay and form the “no-go” list.
In addition to a more streamlined approach to overseas travel, the government is also expected to announce that post-vacation PCR testing will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travelers.
PCR tests currently have to be taken on the second day of arrival in the UK from overseas and cost around £ 70 on average.
It is understood that these will instead be replaced by lateral flow tests which are free.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.