United Kingdom yesterday announced that a total of 12 destinations have been added to the government’s ’green list’ of destinations that are deemed as safe for travellers to return to England from without the need of quarantine.
The green list, which is effective from 17th May, consists of the following countries:
- New Zealand
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
- Falk Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Note that travellers coming in from these countries to the UK will still have to take a COVID-19 test before they return, as well as on Day 2 after their return, but they will not need to quarantine on arrival.
Most other countries will initially be on the ‘Amber list’, including popular Summer destinations such as Spain, France and Greece. The lists will be reviewed every 3 weeks.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary of United Kingdom, also confirmed that 3 new countries – the Maldives, Turkey and Nepal – will be added to the highest risk ‘red list’. United Kingdom recently added India to its red list along with 4 other countries.
Shapps said that travellers will be able to access their vaccine records through the existing NHS app from 17th May – or will be able to request a paper letter.
Several industry bodies have reacted to the news, with Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), commenting:
Although it was good to hear the Minister say he wants people to be able to travel this summer, this is a slower and more cautious approach than previously outlined by the Government and will delay the industry’s recovery. We understand that public health is the Government’s priority, and it was always expected that the return to international travel would be gradual, but the Government must use the next review to open up travel to more destinations, using the traffic light system to manage risk. We also need the Government to commit to supporting travel agents and tour operators through what will continue to be difficult times ahead. Travel will be one of the most restricted economic sectors coming out of the pandemic and this needs to be recognised through adequate grants to support these businesses.
Karen Dee, CEO, Airport Operations Association, said:
UK airports are ready to welcome back passengers from May 17, with high levels of health and hygiene measures in place, and we welcome confirmation that international travel will resume. Given the success of the UK’s vaccine roll-out, it is disappointing that so few countries are on the green list. This is not yet the meaningful, four-nation restart UK airports and the economy need. Aviation is essential to connect families who have not been able to meet for so long, to provide well-earned holidays, and for businesses to reach new and existing customers abroad. To ensure this can restart effectively, the UK Government must play its part by adding countries to the green list, making testing more affordable, through the use of widely available rapid tests, and by simplifying the processes and providing sufficient resource at the border. The unacceptable queues passengers experience at the border in some airports put passenger welfare and safety and security in UK airports at risk. Pre-pandemic around a million UK jobs were supported by UK aviation so a full recovery must be a priority for Government. Ministers need to use the upcoming reviews to reduce restrictions for fully vaccinated people, just as the EU and the US are planning. This is particularly important for restarting the UK’s inbound tourism sector.
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