Wait ‘two or three weeks’ to book foreign holidays, Grant Shapps says
All travel will be subject to a traffic light system, in which countries are classified as green, amber or red. Only travellers from green nations will be exempt from quarantine, although they will still need to present a rapid antigen test on arrival and take a PCR test on day two.
Countries will be assigned a colour in early May, the government said.
Independent readers have sent us numerous questions about travel opening back up after the government’s announcement. Click here for our travel correspondent Simon Calder’s best attempt to answer some of the most pressing.
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 17:39
Brits would pay just £22 for travel testing
A new study by travel insurance provider battleface has revealed that Brits are willing to pay just £22 per person on average for a PCR test before embarking on international travel – while 33 per cent said they would not be prepared to pay for a PCR test at all, either at home or at the airport, before going abroad.
Private PCR tests cost, on average, £120 per person in the UK currently.
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 16:34
Which? warns holidaymakers
Which? has warned people to hold off on booking summer holidays until more details of the government’s plan to reopen travel become clear.
Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said:
“Millions of people will be excited to know their next holiday abroad might not be too far off, but the current guidance leaves too many questions unanswered about important aspects of foreign travel – so we would advise consumers to hold off on booking a holiday until the details become clearer.
“Apart from not knowing where we can go and when, the government has also warned that countries will be moved between green, amber and red. Until it details how these changes will take place, consumers face the risk of 10 days quarantine and paying for additional tests, or worse, having to pay £1,750 for hotel quarantine.
“There also remain questions over what the total cost of testing will be for trips, which currently runs into the hundreds of pounds, and what steps will be taken to ensure testing is affordable and accessible. It is vital that the government provides clarity on these issues before people think about parting with their money.”
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 16:13
Cautious green light
Alan French CEO of Thomas Cook, said:
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 15:23
The government has confirmed that countries will be designated a grading of red, amber or green depending on factors including the prevalence of coronavirus variants, new infection rates and vaccine rollouts. Red is the riskiest category with the harshest restrictions – returning travellers must pay to stay at a quarantine hotel for 11 nights as well as taking several tests.
There are currently 39 countries on the red list, although this may change by 17 May, when foreign leisure travel is slated to be allowed.
Click here for the full list of red list countries.
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 15:11
As international travel gets greenlit for 17 May, click here for everything you need to know about what Covid tests you’ll need in order to go abroad (and come back).
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 14:49
Expert calls for lateral flow testing
Travel industry expert and consultant Paul Charles has called for PCR testing to be swapped for cheaper, quicker lateral flow tests for travellers arriving into the UK from countries on the green list.
Helen Coffey9 April 2021 14:30
Iata condemns testing after arrival
The new director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), Willie Walsh, has condemned the UK government’s approach to testing after arrival. Willie Walsh, former British Airways chief executive, said: “This is far from the ‘affordable and accessible’ promise that the government has made. PCR testing is expensive, inconvenient and, in short supply in some destinations. Studies show that the best rapid tests could deliver similar levels of accuracy and put the cost of travel within the reach of many more people. And it has the potential to replace the need for quarantine for ‘amber’ countries.”
Simon Calder9 April 2021 14:05
While we will be waiting until the start of May for some clarity on which countries will be on the green list, there are currently 39 countries on the high-risk ‘red list’, including Qatar, the UAE and South Africa.
Arrivals from these countries are required to quarantine for 11 nights in a hotel, at a cost of £1,750 per person.
At 4am on 9 April, Kenya, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Pakistan were added.
Here is the full list of countries on the red list.
Cathy Adams9 April 2021 13:43
One of the UK’s largest airport owners, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), has described the Global Travel Taskforce’s reports as “hugely disappointing”.
A spokesperson for MAG, which owns London Stansted and East Midlands as well as Manchester airport, said: “The publication of this framework comes as the UK begins handing out free lateral flow tests to anyone in Britain, as the nation prepares to enjoy a fresh easing of lockdown restrictions and at a point when the UK is leading the world on vaccinations.
“That is why it is hugely disappointing it does not include a category for restriction-free travel – something that represents a backward step from the travel corridors in place last year.
“Government needs to publish which countries will be in the green, amber and red categories of the ‘traffic light’ system at the earliest opportunity and confirm that travel can resume from 17 May.”
Simon Calder9 April 2021 13:18