UK traffic light system
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The UK traffic light system could shake up travel rules

The UK traffic light system’s amber and green list countries could change and be replaced with a new system.

The new system would allow vaccinated travellers to go to countries with similarly high vaccination levels as the UK without quarantine.

Nonetheless, the restrictions for the red list countries would remain.

Under the current UK traffic light system and restrictions, red-listed countries should not be visited except for essential travel needs, and travellers returning from them must self-isolate for 10 days in a government-approved quarantine hotel.

It is assumed that the government has requested senior travel industry leaders to create proposals for international travel to supersede the current UK traffic light system.

The government created the UK traffic light system for travel to limit the spread of Covid-19 from overseas and avoid new variants arriving into the country.

Covid testing is viewed as one of the main requirements from travel industry leaders because the cost deters customers from booking due to its necessity.

This would bring the UK would be in line with the European Union, which does not approve Covid tests for vaccinated travellers within the union. However, it is unclear whether this will happen in the UK.

Leaders of the travel industry believe that the industry must receive confidence and boost travellers to travel again.

The fear and stress caused by changes in the UK traffic light system is a massive barrier to those planning to travel and the industry moving into recovery eventually.

At the start of the summer, sudden changes to the UK traffic light system for Portugal and Mexico witnessed holidaymakers having to speed back home with little warning.

Leaders in the travel sector also pointed out that there is damage caused to the business when there is speculation about potential changes to red, amber, and green list countries, which often change when government decisions are made.

The third government review on international travel is due by 1 October, but the changes could come as early as next week.

Travel bosses expect these changes to occur as early as possible, as the furlough scheme is scheduled to expire on 30 September as many workers in the travel field are still on the wage support scheme.

They believe that relaxation in travel rules would lead to a surge in bookings, which could protect the jobs of those currently on the furlough system.

“Removing PCR testing for vaccinated passengers is essential. We have to align ourselves with what the rest of Europe are doing and stop being such an outlier” said a source in the travel industry.

They also added that the industry now faces a “perfect storm” and “this summer should have been the big reopening of travel – like has happened domestically – but it wasn’t because of the insistence on hugely complex and expensive tests.”

Industry leaders in travel state that any policy changes will not happen until proposals are signed off by the Chief Scientific Officer and the Health Secretary.

A government spokesperson said that the decisions on the UK traffic light system are reviewed regularly and informed by the latest risk assessment from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and broader public health factors.


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