Frustration meets new “traffic light” travel plans

“Traffic light” system confirmed

Traffic lights superimposed on airport arrivals

Details have been announced this morning by the government about how international travel will reopen for England under a “traffic light” system, although May 17 is still not confirmed as a start date by the Global Travel Taskforce.

Under a traffic light system, countries will be categorised based on risk, but passengers will have to take Covid tests before leaving and on returning – even from low-risk “green” countries.

As already reported here, the travel industry has expressed concern about the cost of testing and wants cheaper lateral flow tests to be used upon return. They argue that if somebody has already been vaccinated prior to travel they should only have to take the cheaper Lateral Flow test when arriving back in England – and then the PCR test if this shows positive.

The traffic light system will work using three categories:

  • Green: Passengers will not be required to quarantine on return, but must take a pre-departure test (the type is unspecified), as well as a PCR test on return to the UK – the latter must be on or before day two of their return.
  • Amber: Travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two PCR tests after arriving back on day two and day eight after returning, with the option to “test to release” on day five.
  • Red: Passengers will have to pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two PCR tests on day two and day eight after returning.

“Watchlist” to be announced

Hopes are rising for foreign holidays to be permitted from May, with the public given a “watchlist” of countries whose quarantine status is at risk of changing to help with planning and to avoid the chaos of last summer.

A “watchlist” will be drawn up to identify countries that could switch from green to amber, to help passengers plan in advance, the Department for Transport said. The idea is to prevent the panic of the previous system where countries changed status on very short notice causing a rush to return before a very short deadline.

The measures are due to be reviewed at the end of June, and again in September and October.

COVID-19 in Madeira: daily updates can be found on an earlier post.

Vaccinations in Madeira: updates can be found on an earlier post.

4 thoughts on “Frustration meets new “traffic light” travel plans”

  1. Seems daft to be vaccinated, test before returning to England, and then have to take an expensive test when you get back. OK being vaccinated does stop you from bringing back a new variant, but it appears that it significantly reduces the likelihood of doing so?

    • Does it? I’ve not seen any evidence to that effect. Some “variants of concern” are known to get round vaccines to a significant effect, hence the label. I understand the AZ vaccine shows very little protection against the SA variant, for example.

      Such a tricky issue to manage. The U.K Government has bodged this from the word go and continue to do so, with numerous inconsistencies in their policies. I have absolutely no faith that they will get it right in the future.

  2. Jet2 has just announced that it has extended its suspension of flights and holidays until and including 23 June – so no chance of a May flight wth them.


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