The British government on Friday announced its foreign travel list that starts on May 17, dividing other countries into green, amber and red lists based on the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
The announcement was made by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at a press conference, with the update only covering England. Currently, anyone in England seeking to travel must have a valid reason, and those traveling for holidays face fines.
Shapps said the UK had made “huge progress” against COVID-19 but that it was not at the end of the road yet, and that current successes should not be put at risk.
He added that caution needs to be taken amid continued concerns that the virus could surge again in Britain.
Still, he added that foreign travel was crucial to rebuilding the economy and that the issue was also of critical importance to families and not just those who wanted to take holidays.
Shapps said that to ensure that the countries to which Brits travel are safe, the Global Travel Taskforce listed countries into a traffic-light system based on the advice from the country’s Biosecurity Centre.
“We want a summer in which we can reunite family and friends, travel to places we love,” he said. “We want to start looking outward again.”
He cautioned, however, that the success so far in combatting the virus in the UK had not yet been “replicated in many places abroad.”
The low-risk Green List comprises of Portugal, Israel, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island.
France, Spain, Greece all missed out on the Green List, and have been placed on the Amber List instead, while Turkey, the Maldives, and Nepal were added to the Red List.
The lists will be reviewed every three weeks from May 17.
Arrivals in the UK from Green List countries will not need to quarantine upon their return, but they will need to take coronavirus tests before and after their journey.
People returning from countries on the Amber List will have to quarantine for 10 days, while authorities have restricted arrivals from Red List countries to the UK or Irish nationals only, who will also need to quarantine for 10 days at a government quarantine hotel upon their return.