Testing capacity can't meet international travel needs says expert
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International travel has been banned for millions since the coronavirus pandemic began. The ban on foreign holidays will be lifted on May 17 and instead replaced with a three-tiered traffic light system. The Government will designate each country in each category depending on each nation’s risk level related to the ongoing crisis.
International travel for holidays and other non-essential reasons has been largely off the cards for most for more than a year.
Leisure travel however is due to resume from May 17 according to the Government’s lockdown easing roadmap.
The Government revealed it would implement a traffic light system when international travel starts.
Each country will be categorised as red, amber or green, depending on the risk level of coronavirus in each nation.
Categorisation of each country will consider statistics related to each of the following:
- The proportion of vaccinations undertaken
- Covid infection rates
- Prevalence rates
- The prominence of variants of concern.
For green list countries, the following measures will be required:
- One test within 72 hours of departure to England
- At least one test on arrival back in England, which could be a lateral flow test, which are free to all from April 9.
For amber list countries, the following measures will be required:
- A pre-departure test
- Mandatory quarantine for 10 days at home
- PCR tests on two and eight, with the option to pay for an extra test on day five to be released from isolation early.
- Rules could be more flexible for fully vaccinated people, with no home quarantine period.
For red list countries, the following measures will be required:
- Compulsory hotel quarantine costing up to £1,750 per person, for 11 days with pre-departure tests and testing on days two and eight
- Direct flights from red-list countries are banned
- Britons living in red-list countries must fly home via a third nation.
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Which countries are expected to be on the green list?
The Government is due to announce the categories for each country around the world in “early May”.
The Commons’ Transport Select Committee issued a report last week which stated that the green, amber and red lists of destinations must be published by Saturday “at the latest”, but this has not happened.
Many have said the Department for Transport has missed the deadline for responses.
However, a spokeswoman said: “The Government has not missed a deadline.
“We have always said we will confirm by early May if international travel can resume on May 17 and which countries will fall into which list.
“This will determine the requirements for travel for passengers.”
She added the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is working towards restarting travel abroad in a “safe and sustainable way”.
Despite no confirmation as of yet, many travel and Covid experts have hazarded guesses as to which countries are most likely to be on the green list.
Likely green countries include the following:
- The Caribbean
- New Zealand
- The USA
- Spanish islands including the Canaries.
- Greek islands including Crete and Santorini.
According to research from the travel agency PC Agency, the most likely green list countries will include the following:
- The UK
The list is calculated using vaccine and infection rates as well as evidence of variants and data quality.
The vast majority of popular European destinations are on the amber list, according to the agency’s calculations.
Significant roadblocks are likely for tourists hoping to visit the likes of France, Italy, Spain and Greece, with Turkey also looking likely to miss out.
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