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COVID-19: The Government announced its latest update on foreign holidays and travel

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reinforced a new traffic light system for foreign holidays & international travel. However, this comes with a warning, stating that it is too early for the Government to allow foreign holidays.

International travels are banned until 17th May according to the Government’s roadmap back to normality.

But at the Prime minister’s latest Downing street coronavirus briefing, he said “Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from 17th May, we are hopeful…” prompting out that it is not realistic at the moment.

When will it be possible to go on foreign holidays?

As updated by the Prime minister: “Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, we are not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17th May”. However, he also stated that more information will be given later this week.

When is the best time to book a foreign holiday?

The Government is informing people not to book foreign holidays yet. In his briefing, Boris Johnson said, “For the moment, the government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.” It was also mentioned that the Government is hopeful but doesn’t wish to see the virus being reimported into this country. 

How will the traffic light system work?

The traffic light system will add green and amber categories of the current red list countries.

Countries on the green list will not require quarantine upon returning to the UK, but a PCR test will be taken before leaving and when returning. According to the Government, the green list will include countries judged as lower risk based on vaccinations, infection rates, the variants of concern, and their access to genomic sequencing. It is not clear the conditions for a country to be placed on the amber list.

What countries are suitable for foreign holidays?

The Government reported that it is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel reopens. These judgments will be made by the data and evidence shortly. In advance of non-essential international travel resumption, an initial assessment of which countries will fall into which category will be set.

However, the UK and Irish citizens and residents must quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel once they return from the below nations.

Red list countries:

▪ Angola
▪ Argentina
▪ Bolivia
▪ Botswana
▪ Brazil
▪ Burundi
▪ Cape Verde
▪ Chile
▪ Colombia
▪ Ecuador
▪ Eswatini
▪ Ethiopia
▪ French Guiana
▪ Guyana
▪ Lesotho
▪ Malawi
▪ Mozambique
▪ Namibia
▪ Oman
▪ Panama
▪ Paraguay
▪ Peru
▪ Qatar
▪ Rwanda
▪ Seychelles
▪ Somalia
▪ South Africa
▪ Suriname
▪ Tanzania
▪ The Democratic Republic of the Congo
▪ United Arab Emirates (UAE)
▪ Uruguay
▪ Venezuela
▪ Zambia
▪ Zimbabwe

More countries to be added to the red list at 4am this Friday 9th April:

▪ Bangladesh
▪ Kenya
▪ Pakistan
▪ Philippines

Statements from other countries

Travel for foreign holidays remains banned by the UK government, with fines in place for those caught breaking restrictions.

Malta has announced it will welcome UK tourists from 1st June. To enter, people will need to show proof of an entire course of vaccination administered at least 10 days before arrival.

Turkey is looking forward to welcoming Britons without proof of vaccine or negative test when foreign holidays & travel is allowed, although a review is due on 15th April.

Greece will require international tourists to have vaccine passports, had a recent negative COVID-19 test or have coronavirus antibodies.

Cyprus said they are hoping to welcome UK holidaymakers from 1st April, provided they supply a negative PCR test. Although, from 1st May, this could be replaced with vaccine passports.

What is needed to do to travel?

To travel to green list countries, one will require a negative coronavirus test before leaving the UK and also upon return.

However, vaccine passports may soon be another route to foreign holidays and arrangements with other countries. The Government reports a ‘certification’ system backed by the NHS will be used to show if someone has been fully vaccinated, has antibodies, or has had a negative test. The vaccine passports programme could offer a more durable path, provided that sufficient efficacy against any variants – which means the role of COVID-status certification or vaccine passports is vital to this work.

When will there be more updates on more about going on foreign holidays?

The Government set up Global Travel Taskforce, is due to publish a report to the prime minister on Monday 12th April with more details on the traffic light system. During the briefing yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the Government would be setting out well before 17th May.


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