UK sets up ‘traffic light’ system for summer holidays

The U.K. government on Friday released details on a ‘traffic light’ plan to allow people living in England to go abroad on summer holidays, designating countries as green, amber or red depending on their coronavirus situation.

The list of countries itself will be unveiled in “two or three weeks,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Sky News Friday morning. England’s travel ban will be lifted at the earliest on May 17. Here are the requirements for each tier.

Green countries: People returning from green list countries will need to take a pre-departure test, plus a PCR test within two days of landing. They will not need to quarantine unless they test positive.

Amber countries: People returning from amber list countries will need to take a pre-departure test, then quarantine for 10 days and clear two further tests.

Red countries: People returning from red list countries will need a pre-departure test and must quarantine for 10 days in a managed hotel upon arrival. They will need two negative PCR tests to leave the hotel.

The government will also release a “green watchlist” of countries on the green list at risk of dropping to other tiers depending on how the pandemic evolves. The three-tier system and its requirements will be reviewed at “the end of June, July and the beginning of October,” Shapps said.

The system comes with significant expenses — consumer group Which estimates each PCR test will cost 120 pounds per person.

“I’m undertaking to drive down the cost of those tests, and looking at some innovative things we could do,” Shapps said. “For example, whether we can help provide the lateral flow tests that people need to take before they depart a country that they’re in to return to the U.K. And also to drive down the cost of the test when they get home if it’s in the green category, where it’s just a single test.”

“Tests are coming out too expensive and we have to drive that down,” Shapps said on BBC Breakfast.

More Stories
Mea Culpa: how the lonely onlys might get lost