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The Global Travel Taskforce has set out its recommended approach to the safe restarting of international travel this summer, with recommendations including the launch of a new traffic light system, and the introduction of travel certification. The government’s aim remains to protect the public from international variants of COVID-19.

On the 9th April 2021, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps set out a framework to support the safe return of international travel this summer – following the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The framework includes the introduction of a traffic light system, aimed at categorising countries based on their perceived level of risk and their current travel restrictions they have in place. Countries will be placed into red, amber or green categories based on information such as:

  • The current rate of infection
  • The percentage of the countries population that has been vaccinated
  • The countries access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
  • The appearance of any coronavirus variants that may cause concern

The great news about this recent announcement is that it is still giving the potential date for international travel to resume as 17th May – along with the removal of the need for UK passengers to have to prove that they have a valid reason for leaving the country.

However, the risk of other variants of the Coronavirus being brought back into the UK means that restrictions for inbound passengers will still remain – but will vary depending on whether the country they are returning from is categorised as red, amber or green.

  • Red countries – high-risk. Passengers arriving back in the UK will be subject to restrictions such as 
    • pre-departure testing, 
    • a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel
    •  compulsory PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
  • Amber countries – medium-risk. Passengers arriving back into the UK will have to 
    • Take a pre-departure test
    • quarantine at home for a period of 10 days 
    • Take a PCR test on day 2 and 8, with the option to take a Test to Release test on day 5 to end isolation early (on receipt of a negative result)
  • Green Countries – low-risk. Passengers arriving back into the UK will need to:
    • Take a pre-departure test
    • Take a PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK

As you can see, testing remains a really important part of the process, whichever country you are planning on visiting, with all travellers required to book a pre-departure and day 2 and day 8 test before they travel.

If you are planning to travel to a country on the red list, then you will need to also book a quarantine package before you depart, while travellers planning on visiting amber or green list countries will be required to book test packages at least 72 hours before departure. 

The Government has also revealed that restrictions will be reviewed again on the 28th of June, to take into account the health picture on both a local and international scale, with further reviews planned for 31 July and 1 October 2021 as well.

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