Britain’s borders will reopen for international travel in just over two weeks, with “a handful” of approved countries set to be part of Europe’s “green” travel list.
According to The Sun, sunseekers looking for a European break this month can head to Gibraltar or Malta, which are just two idyllic locations set to be included on the green list for quarantine-free travel after May 17 – due to be announced this Friday.
A handful of countries will be given coveted green status in a new travel traffic light system based on jab rollout and COVID rates – meaning Brits can visit with just two tests on their return.
Outside of Europe, Australia, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand and Malta are all likely to be on the green travel list, but holiday favourites Spain and Greece will have to likely wait until a review in June, sources say.
They are likely to be on the “amber” list meaning people can visit but they will have to quarantine for 10 days when they return to the UK.
But insiders think most top destinations including France will be given the green travel go-ahead by the school summer holidays in July.
One of the UK’s top doctor’s, Jonathan Van Tam, will present country data to ministers on Tuesday local time as they meet to approve the first tranche of green and amber countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to unveil the full list on Friday – with travel industry bosses braced for a flurry of bookings this weekend.
Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his medical advisers were “confident” the current coronavirus case data means they can push ahead for the May 17 unlocking milestone that will see a slow return to travel for leisure.
Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk, Downing Street said in a statement late Saturday, with the government to provide more details on Monday. International travel is currently banned except for a handful of permitted reasons.
“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country … as safely as possible,” Mr Johnson said.
The government said the new system “will help ensure the UK’s vaccine progress isn’t jeopardised and provide clear guidance for travellers”.
The British government will implement the traffic light system of risk that will see the world carved up into green, amber or red zones based on vaccine rollout and case rates, as well as new variants found.
Insiders warn only a “handful” of countries will be approved for low-risk green quarantine-free travel in the first round.
Other countries rumoured to be on the green list based on their vaccination success include the US.
While green zones mean quarantine-free travel, people heading to those countries will need to take one pre-departure coronavirus test up to 72 hours before returning to the UK (type unspecified).
Entry by travellers from “red list” countries will continue to be outlawed, with anyone coming through those countries forced to quarantine at their own expense in a government-approved hotel when they arrive.
They will be required to take a COVID-19 test on day eight after their return.
There are approximately 40 countries on the red list released by the UK government, including India, which logged 400,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day on Friday, local time, is on the red list.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission