UK residents will be able to visit 12 countries or territories from 17 May without having to quarantine on return, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.
Portugal, Gibraltar, and Israel are among the countries holiday makers will be able to visit, Shapps said in a 7 May press conference.
Turkey, the Maldives, and Nepal on the other hand have been added to the so-called red list of countries that should not be visited except in extreme circumstances.
Countries including France, Spain and Greece remain on the amber list of countries, meaning that visitors to those nations would have to quarantine at home on their return to the UK.
Shapps also said that UK residents will be able to use their NHS health app to show their vaccine status when travelling. He noted that people would also be able to request a paper version to show at international borders.
Shapps added the reopening would be “necessarily cautious” and the list of countries would be reviewed every three weeks after the 17 May reopening.
“Nobody wants to go back into lockdown, not ever,” he said.
What the lists mean
Green list — safe for travel
This is a list of countries with the lowest Covid risk level. People arriving in the UK from a green country will need to take a pre-departure test in that country, confirming they do not have coronavirus before they fly.
They will also need to take a laboratory test, known as a PCR test, on or before the second day after they have arrived back in the UK. There will be no need to quarantine unless they receive a positive result.
Amber list — travel with caution
Those arriving in the UK from countries in the amber category will have to quarantine for 10 days at home after travel.
A pre-departure test in the country of origin will still be required, as well as a PCR test in the UK on the second and eighth days of quarantine. Should they wish to get out of quarantine early, an additional PCR test can be paid for on the fifth day.
Red list — travel is not advised
People arriving from red-list countries will be required to quarantine for 10 days in a designated quarantine hotel.
They will still be required to take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on the second and eighth days of quarantine. The quarantine stay in a hotel must be booked and agreed to be paid for before travel to the UK, using a government-approved facility.
Some countries are already on the UK’s red list, including India after a recent spike in cases across the country.
Others include countries across South America, Africa and the Middle East. Popular holiday destinations on the red list include the Seychelles, the Philippines and Cape Verde.
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