RECAP: Transport secretary announces UK travel green list at Downing Street press conference
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps revealed the UK’s traffic light travel lists at the 5pm press briefing today, Friday, May 7 as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Many people have been eagerly awaiting an update on the rules for foreign holidays after overseas leisure travel from the UK was banned under coronavirus rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that May 17 is the earliest date that overseas leisure travel will be allowed for people in England under his road map for easing restrictions.
Destinations will be categorised as red, amber or green, with different quarantine and testing requirements.
The Government is due to publish the list later today, but there is speculation the green list could include Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar and Israel.
Sunny summer favourites such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece are expected to be on the amber list initially but a “checkpoint” review on June 28 could switch some countries to the green list.
Travellers planning a trip to a green listed country will not need to self-isolate, and will only need one post-arrival test.
But people entering England from an amber country must quarantine at home for at least five days, and take a minimum of two post-arrival tests, while those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.
Destinations are likely to require holidaymakers to show evidence they have received a coronavirus vaccine or taken a recent negative test.
Assessments for the traffic light system will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Many popular destinations have expressed their desire for the return of UK holidaymakers this summer – Portugal hopes tourists will return in May, while Spain is planning to reopen for international visitors in June.
Scroll down for live updates on the press briefing:
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Foreign travel press briefing, Friday, May 7
Transport secretary Grant Shapps to address nation at 5pm
Mr Shapps is due to reveal the foreign travel list at 5pm as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he “can’t see any reason” to delay the remaining steps along the road map
Mr Johnson said: “I think that it’s been very important for our country that we’re able to get through Covid as fast as we can.
“I think we’ve got to always bear in mind that this thing isn’t over.
“I think the epidemiology is very encouraging at the moment but we’ve got to continue to be cautious, and we will continue with the cautious but irreversible steps of the road map.
“I can’t see any reason now to delay any of the steps that we’ve got ahead of us, but that’s going to be our programme.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps addresses nation
The transport secretary is to reveal the green travel list.
UK has made “enormous” progress against the pandemic says transport secretary
Grant Shapps says: “We want a summer in which we can reunite family and friends, travel to places we love.
“We want to start looking outward again.”
Travel secretary says green foreign travel list includes 12 countries
Grant Shapps says there are 12 countries on the green travel list which includes Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel.
France, Spain and Greece not on the green list says transport secretary
Grant Shapps has confirmed that popular holiday destinations which include France, Spain and Greece are not on the green travel list.
Grant Shapps said the removal of international travel restrictions on May 17 was “necessarily cautious”
He said: “We must make sure the countries we reconnect with are safe.”
Transport secretary confirms three new countries added to red list
Grant Shapps said Turkey, Maldives and Nepal have been added to the red travel list.
He added: “I have to be absolutely straight with you. Our success in combatting Covid here is not yet replicated in many places abroad.”
Those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said travellers were “crucial” to rebuilding the UK’s economy
He told a Downing Street press conference : “We want a summer in which, with the help of vaccines and testing, we can reunite family and friends, and travel to places we love.
“We want to start looking outward again. Whilst Covid has isolated us, travel unites us.”
He added: “Travellers are, of course, also absolutely crucial to rebuilding our economy, bringing long-awaited relief to hard-hit airlines, airports, the tourism sector, which taxpayers have spent £7 billion in supporting.”
Border Force director general Paul Lincoln warned that wait times to enter the UK were likely to take longer
He told a Downing Street press conference: “Unfortunately we are not back to normality yet.
“Travel will be different and, as the Transport Secretary says, we still need to be cautious.
“There will continue to be additional health checks for every person crossing our border and inevitably that means it will take longer for most people to enter the UK.
“These measures have been put in place to protect the hard-fought gains and sacrifices that have been made by individuals and society in the UK, minimising the risk of importing variants while protecting the success of our vaccine rollout.”