On 17 May, foreign leisure travel got the go-ahead in England.
From 17 May, holidays can resume under a traffic light system, with destinations graded as red, amber or green according to the level of risk of travellers reimporting Covid-19 infections.
According to the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, recreational travel is only recommended to countries on the green list; travellers have been advised they “should not be travelling to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries for leisure”.
The “green list” was first revealed on 7 May.
For the initial international travel restart, only 12 places were designated green. But when will more countries be added to the list, and how often will it be updated? Here’s what we know so far.
Which countries are on the green list now?
A mere 12 destinations made it onto the first green list, many of which do not currently let in British travellers or are impossible to reach directly, thereby necessitating travel through an amber country. The only possible holiday destinations look to be Portugal, Gibraltar and Iceland.
Green list in full
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
When will the green list be reviewed and updated?
The lists will be reviewed every three weeks “from early June” – the first update is expected to take place between 1 and 4 June. Any changes will then come into effect a week later (8-11 June).
Any amends to the lists will be informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest data.
“These regular review points will allow the government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries,” according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
The government will also be publishing a green watchlist in the future, to provide an indication of which countries are at risk from moving from green to amber.
Which countries are likely to be added?
There are no guarantees, but there has been much speculation that the US and much of Europe could join the green list at some point in June.
“We believe Europe will mostly turn green by end of June, as will the USA,” tweeted travel consultant and CEO of the PC Agency, Paul Charles, at the end of April. Even if this prediction is correct, it’s difficult to say whether countries will switch colours in the next review or the following one.
If trends continue as expected, the first update could include destinations that many thought would be on the initial green list but ended up being amber: Morocco, Malta, Finland and much of the Caribbean.
What are the rules for green list countries?
Green list countries have the lightest restrictions on arrival, with no quarantine imposed and travellers merely required to take one PCR test within two days of entering the UK.
All travellers must also show proof of a negative Covid test – PCR, rapid antigen or lateral flow – before departure to the UK.