By Rachael Grealish
From May 17 UK residents will be able to travel to 12 ‘Green List’ countries including Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel.
The news came today, Friday May 7, as the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, led the COVID-19 briefing from Downing Street.
Shapps explained the Global Travel Taskforce has come up with the traffic light system based on Biosecurity Centre advice, after saying there was ‘no substitute for human contact’ after making ‘enormous progress this year’ tackling the pandemic.
He said: “We’ve made enormous progress this year, tackling the pandemic across Britain, we’re not at the end of it but the signs are very hopeful.
“Progress has been hard won, won but the speed and success of our NHS vaccination programme, by the huge scale of our testing and by the sheer sacrifice and discipline of the British public. And so it’s important that we don’t put that success and undermine it now by putting it at risk.
“Getting a vaccination feel like being given your life back; you get vaccinated, thanking the wonderful volunteers, people in tears of relief but as well as the joy there is also some concern of the resurgence of COVID and it’s a caution we absolutely share as a government and it’s why the only route out of this pandemic is careful and prudent – a responsible one.”
He went on to say he was ‘glad to announce’ the first steps for Brits looking to head abroad.
“I’m glad to be standing here today announcing the first, albeit, tentative steps towards unlocking international travel,” he continued, “We want a summer in which, with the help of testing and vaccines, we can help reunite family and friends, travel to places we love.
“We want to start looking outward again, whilst COVID has isolated us, travel reunites us – even if video calls have kept us all connected during the very long lockdowns there’s simply no substitute for human contact.
“Travel is, of course, absolutely crucial in rebuilding our economy, bringing long awaited relief to hard-hit airline, airports, the tourism sector, which British taxpayers have spent £7 billion in supporting.”
The Transport Secretary then explained the steps are tentative as not all countries across the globe are as far into their vaccination programme as the UK.
People returning from these countries will have to take a test before they return to the UK and one on day two after they return – but will not have to quarantine.
The Green List:
- New Zealand
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island
France and Spain are currently not on the ‘Green List’ – which will be review ed every three weeks – but we do know Turkey will be on the ‘Red List’.