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International Travel Could Restart May 17th With Traffic Light System And Mandatory Testing

International Travel Could Restart May 17th With Traffic Light System And Mandatory Testing

News - UK
06-Apr-2021

The UK government has laid out the plan to allow international travel starting May 17th at the earliest. This will include a traffic light system for foreign travel. It is currently against the law to travel abroad - a law that expires June 30th (unless cancelled early) - without good reason, with a fine of £5000 for rule breakers.

Although the government has not yet declared which country would be what colour, the Daily Mail is reporting that the U.S.A would be put in the "green" category due to their vaccination progress. Parts of Europe, like France and Germany, would be "amber" "or "red" due to high cases and low vaccination progress. But this is not yet confirmed. Bad news for Disneyland Paris, but potentially good news for Walt Disney World.

The main difference between the colours is green means no self-isolation, with negative tests outbound and inbound being required. Amber would require self-isolating at home upon return for 10 days, and red would require self-isolating at the isolation hotels for 10 days. So it's clear only green countries will only be viable for holidays this year.

No word yet if any sort of "vaccine passport" would be required for travel. One thing is certain, May 17th will be the earliest that foreign holidays can resume. The full government text is below.

You can book Walt Disney World for 2021 (the $200 gift card and free nights offer is still live) and bookings for 2022 are now being taken direct through Disney as well. Each come with free "zen guarantee" room/ticket cancellation up to 7 days before check-in for peace of mind should any of the governments plans change.
1.2 Global Travel Taskforce
The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. The Government hopes people will be able to travel to and from the UK to take a summer holiday this year, but it is still too soon to know what is possible.

The roadmap said that any return to international travel without a reasonable excuse, for example for holidays, would be no earlier than 17 May. Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, we are not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from that point. Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, we will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.

When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system. This will add to our current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed. This new category will accommodate countries where we judge the risk to be lower, based for instance on vaccinations, infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern, and their genomic sequencing capacity (or access to genomic sequencing). The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.

It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes. These decisions will be driven by the data and evidence nearer the time, which we cannot predict now. In advance of the resumption of non-essential international travel, we will set out our initial assessment of which countries will fall into which category. Thereafter countries will move between the red, amber and green lists depending on the data. For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.

The vaccination programme could offer a more stable route out of the need for such restrictions - provided we see sufficient efficacy against any variants of concern - which means the role of COVID-status certification is crucial to this work. The current intention is that, when non-essential international travel does resume, the NHS solution will facilitate international travel where certification is required, and we will look to establish arrangements with other countries and international organisations to establish mutual recognition of certificates.

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