Green, amber or red: UK to classify travel destinations in May

Airlines, desperate for a bumper summer after a year of restrictions, criticized proposals from the government's Global Travel Taskforce, which include COVID tests, saying the 100-pound cost of PCR testing for those arriving from low-risk green countries would put off many travellers. Giving new details of how it hopes to allow people to travel this summer, the task force also said work was going on to develop a certification system, sometimes called "vaccine passports", for inbound and outbound travel.

Reuters | London | Updated: 09-04-2021 11:50 IST | Created: 09-04-2021 11:49 IST
Green, amber or red: UK to classify travel destinations in May
Representative image Image Credit: Wikipedia

Britain will confirm in early May whether it will allow international travel to resume from May 17 and which countries will fall into the red, amber or green categories in a traffic light system based on COVID-19 risks. Airlines, desperate for a bumper summer after a year of restrictions, criticised proposals from the government's Global Travel Taskforce, which include COVID tests, saying the 100-pound cost of PCR testing for those arriving from low-risk green countries would put off many travellers.

Giving new details of how it hopes to allow people to travel this summer, the task force also said work was going on to develop a certification system, sometimes called "vaccine passports", for inbound and outbound travel. Britain is gradually emerging from a strict winter lockdown prompted by a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths. As things stand, international travel is banned except under specific circumstances defined by the government.

But the government's proposals for restarting travel fell short of airline industry hopes. "This does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers," said Airlines UK, an industry body that represents British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others.

EasyJet, Britain's biggest airline by passenger numbers, said the PCR test requirement for low-risk countries was a blow to travellers and called on the government to re-assess its plan. "This risks reversing the clock and making flying only for the wealthy," said EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren.

Case numbers in Britain have dropped dramatically since the January peak but a government priority is to avoid undermining the success of its vaccination programme by importing vaccine-resistant variants from overseas. "The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine rollout and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The government said it was working with the travel industry and with private COVID-19 test providers to cut the cost of travel. "This could include cheaper tests being used when holidaymakers return home, as well as whether the government would be able to provide pre-departure tests," the travel task force said.

Under the traffic light system, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine and compulsory COVID tests will apply differently depending on which category of the country a passenger arrives from. Factors in assessing categories will include the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated, the rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern and the country's access to reliable genomic sequencing.

There will be a "green watchlist" identifying countries most at risk of moving from green to amber, although the government said it would not hesitate to change a country's category should data show risk had increased. The task force indicated that a digital travel certification system would be part of the plan but gave few details beyond saying that Britain wanted to play a leading role in developing standards in this area.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Viral variants and vaccine nationalism pose two-pronged threat to Covid victory

... ...

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Over 8 million Russians vaccinated against COVID-19 - Ifax

Russia has vaccinated more than 8 million citizens so far against COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying on Friday, out of a total Russian population of some 144 million.It is an inc...

Monsoon to be normal this year, says IMD

The Southwest monsoon, which brings more than 75 per cent of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department IMD said on Friday.The Long Period Average LPA will be 98 per cent with an error m...

Reuters Sports News Summary

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.Athletics-World champion Colemans ban reduced but will still miss OlympicsWorld 100 metres champion Christian Coleman had his two-year ban for breaching anti-doping whereabouts rules redu...

Kareena Kapoor shares adorable glimpse of how weekend looks like to her

Megastar Kareena Kapoor Khan on Friday treated her fans to an adorable glimpse of how the weekend looks like at the Pataudi house. The Good Newwz star hopped on to Instagram to share a heart-warming picture of her newborn baby, along with h...

Give Feedback