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The traffic light system on foreign travel explained

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Column by travel expert Lynne Page, of travel-pa.com

The Global Travel Taskforce was put together to develop a framework for a safe and sustainable return to International travel.

It is led by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps who report to the Prime Minister.

Lynne Page (37469076)
Lynne Page (37469076)

Some of their work includes considering how the management of testing for International arrivals could be implemented to boost safe travel to and from the UK.

Mr Shapps commented recently that the cost of PCR tests in the UK is much higher than elsewhere. He has suggested that one of the Government approved providers is planning to launch a £45 PCR test and that holidaymakers may be able to take free NHS lateral flow test kits with them to prove they are Covid-free before returning to the UK.

Speaking at a webinar with Airlines UK earlier this month, Mr Shapps indicated that the Government are planning to introduce a traffic light system.

Only those countries on the ‘Green List’ will allow quarantine-free travel.

The traffic light system will categorise countries based on risk, along with the restrictions required for travel.

Some of the major factors taken into consideration include the percentage of the country’s population that have been vaccinated and the rate of infection.

The Government website explains the traffic light systems as follows:

  • Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England - but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday.
  • Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early.
  • Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8.

Testing remains an essential part of protecting public health as restrictions begin to ease – with all arrivals who are not exempt required to book a pre-departure, day 2 and day 8 test before travelling.

Arrivals travelling from ‘red list’ countries should book a quarantine package before departure, and arrivals from ‘amber’ and ‘green’ countries will be required to book test packages before travelling from one of the government’s approved list of providers”

It is too early to know which countries will appear on each list.

However, the government continue to monitor the key factors and will inform us by May 17 whether we can restart international travel.

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