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What is the traffic light system and how does it work?

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On Friday evening Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the English Government’s eagerly anticipated Travel Traffic Light System. Which countries are on the Green list? Can I travel to an Amber country, and how does my travel insurance work when I choose to travel? Read on for all you need to know…

 

What is the traffic light system and how does it work?

Green, Amber and Red lists have been created depending on several variables, these include the destinations vaccination rate, and the number of Covid-19 cases. The key here is less on anticipated risk while abroad, more your ability to transmit current and new variants of the virus on your return. This means the steps required from you once you return depend hugely on which colour list your destination is on.

There has been a lot of media speculation around how the system may work and where popular destinations would be placed. The Government has taken a cautious approach with the notion the lists can change as each destination’s circumstances change. Each list will be reviewed every three weeks, be aware countries can be added or removed from each list at short notice.

 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the English Government’s Travel Traffic Light System on Friday 7th May 2021.

 

Which countries are on the Green list and what steps must I take?

You must perform a pre-departure Covid-19 test up to 72 hours before returning to the UK, the type of test has not yet been specified. You must fill out a passenger locator form. You will not have to isolate on your return however you must perform a PCR test on day two after your arrival. It has been specified it must be a PCR test (not a Lateral Flow Test) as the PCR test is more reliable.

Which countries are on the green list?

Australia

New Zealand

Singapore

Brunei

Iceland

Faroe Islands

Gibraltar

Falkland Islands

Israel and Jerusalem

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira

 

How will the Amber list work, what steps must I take?

Much like the green list destinations you must provide evidence of a negative test from a pre-departure test 72 hours before you plan on returning to the UK. However, unlike the Green list you must isolate at home for 10 days on your return. You must fill out a passenger locator form. You will need to perform a PCR test on day two and eight of your isolation. This can be cut short if you choose to pay for a private test on day 5 under the Test to Release Scheme.

What is the Test to Release Scheme?

“You may be able to end quarantine early through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme if you pay for a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test.

You must still take the 2 COVID-19 tests you booked before you travelled. Find out more about the tests you must book and take.

You use the ‘Test to Release’ scheme if you’ve been in or through a country on the banned travel list (sometimes called the ‘red list’) in the 10 days before you arrive in England.

This guidance is for England. Find out what to do if you’re:

 

(Ending self-isolation early through Test to Release. Gov.uk)

 

How will the Red list work, what steps must I take?

“Forty-three countries are now on the red list, including Turkey, India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Brazil and South Africa.”

(BBC)

The key difference here is only UK or Irish nationals or permanent UK residents can enter the UK from a red list country. Much like Green and Amber destinations you must provide evidence of a negative pre-departure test 72 hours before you plan on returning to the UK. Again, you must fill out a passenger locator form. Unlike the other two you will be required to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 per person. PCR tests are required on days two and eight of your quarantine, this is included in the cost of your stay.

 

Will the lists change?

Undoubtably yes. All destinations will be reviewed every three weeks so countries will move up and down the lists as their circumstances change. There will also be a ‘Watch List’ giving travellers notice of possible change from Green to Amber or Amber to Red. According to the Guardian, government figures show the initial Green list is intentionally limited with the idea more countries are added over time.

 

What are the travel operators saying?

Demand for destinations will change hugely depending on which list they appear on. The chief executive of booking.com said holiday prices may rise to cope with demand and fewer airline seats being available.

However, some operators are supporting their customer by shouldering the cost of testing. Tui, the UK’s largest tour operator said they would subsidise the cost of testing, offering packages between £20 and £90 per person.

“Ahead of the transport secretary’s announcement, airline giant IAG, which owns British Airways, said it was “ready to fly” but urged the government to introduce affordable, simple and proportionate testing to replace quarantine.”

BBC

 

Please always check your policy schedule alongside your terms and conditions, as our policy coverages have changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, depending upon when you purchased your policy.

Find out more on our COVID-19 general information page.

 

COVID-19 general information   COVID-19 FAQ

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Andy Cresco

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