England reveals “green list” for quarantine-free travelAndrea Smith

Those living in England can now begin making travel plans, as the British Government has announced its “green list” for international leisure trips, which can resume after May 17.

After a months-long ban on international trips, travel will resume to destinations around the world under a traffic light system. Countries and territories will be divided into three categories based on their COVID-19 risk; green, amber or red. The categories they are placed in will dictate whether English holidaymakers will need to quarantine when they return to the UK, or if the destinations should not be visited except in urgent circumstances. According to the UK transport secretary, Grant Shapps, the green list was based on the countries or territories where infection rates are low and vaccination rates are high.

Gibraltar has been included on England’s green list © Jayson Oertel/500px

There are 12 countries and territories on the initial green list, which will be in effecting starting on May 17. They include Portugal (with the Azores and Madeira); Israel; Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Gibraltar; Brunei; Faroe Islands; Falkland Islands; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. After the official reopening, the list will be reviewed every three weeks, and if there are concerns about the safety of any of the places on the list, the government can withdraw the destination’s green status. 

Shapps said in an announcement that the initial list is limited and cautious. Some popular destinations for British travelers—like Greece and Spain—did not make the cut, despite their own efforts to increase tourism. Some of the green list countries also have their own restrictions in place that will prevent English travelers from visiting, including Australia and New Zealand.

While English travelers will not need to quarantine upon arrival when they return from green list countries, they will need to take COVID-19 tests before they leave, as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back to England. While many may be excited at the opportunity for travel, Shapps noted that as the list can change, travelers should not book any holidays unless there is a refund option, and those who travel should anticipate longer delays at airports. 

Just back from: Madeira

Arrivals from “red list” destinations, including India, South Africa and Brazil, continue to be subject to 11 nights of hotel quarantine at the traveler’s expense. Most other countries are on the “amber list,” which means that arrivals must self-isolate at home for 10 days. This can be reduced if a test after five days proves negative.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet revealed when they plan to ease their strict travel rules.

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