Brits hoping for a holiday abroad this summer will soon have more options for quarantine-free travel after the Government reviewed its foreign travel list on Thursday (24 June).
The update of the green, amber and red lists determine the quarantine and testing requirements for visiting different countries, with Malta and Spain’s Balearic islands added to the green list.
The list – from which returning travellers are not required to self-isolate – has also been extended to a number of Caribbean destinations including Bermuda, Antigua, Barbados and Grenada.
Changes take effect next week
The changes to the green list destinations will come into effect at 4am on June 30.
Mr Shapps cautioned that all the additions to the green list, with the exception of Malta, had also been added to the green watch list, signalling that they are at risk of moving back to amber. Israel and Jerusalem have also been put on the watch list.
People arriving in the UK from destinations on the green list are not required to self-isolate.
Malta and the Balearic Islands, which include the holiday spots of Mallorca and Ibiza, are among the places added to the green list, along with a number of Caribbean destinations including Bermuda, Antigua, Barbados and Grenada.
Mr Shapps followed the administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland in adding Malta and Spain’s Balearic islands to the ranks of green list countries. The Welsh Government also followed suit.
Quarantine-free travel to come
A swathe of popular summer holiday hotspots are currently on the amber list, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, all of which have a 10-day quarantine period for travellers returning from these destinations to the UK.
Mr Shapps said the Government would continue to take a “cautious” approach to reopening foreign travel.
However, he said the rollout of the coronavirus vaccination programme meant they could start to look at plans for easing restrictions on travel from amber list countries as well.
In a tweet, he said: “Thanks to our successful vaccination programme, our intention is that later in the summer UK residents who are fully vaccinated will not have to isolate when travelling from amber list countries.
“We’ll set out further details next month.”
The Airport Operators Association chief executive Karen Dee criticised the Government’s “overly cautious” approach and warned it will continue to have “major financial impacts” on the sector.
She said: “Any extension of the green list is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic: this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.
“While this is not yet the vaccine dividend people in the UK had hoped for, it is welcome that Government intends to exempt fully vaccinated travellers from quarantine.
“We urge the Government to publish details on its plans and implement them as soon as possible to save what remains of the summer season.”
Current rules for holidays
Under current rules, foreign holidays are permitted across the UK, but government advice recommends only visiting countries which are on the green list.
Travellers visiting green listed countries will need to take a pre-departure Covid test, plus a PCR test on or before day two of returning to the UK, but quarantine is not necessary.
At the moment, only 11 countries are included on the green list and strict entry requirements are in place for these destinations, so UK travellers have very limited options for holidays abroad.
While there is no law prohibiting people from travelling to an amber or red list country for a holiday, the government is urging people only to travel to destinations on the green list.
Those who do travel to these destinations will be going against government advice and additional Covid checks will be required, including entering quarantine and taking a PCR test on day two and day eight of your return.