The prospect of travelling abroad again could soon be on the horizon again as the UK government is set to introduce a new travel traffic light system.
The new colour-coded system will decide which countries across the globe are considered safe to travel to, with a large number of destinations in Europe expected to be among the first to get the green light.
How will the traffic light system work?
Under the new traffic light system, destinations will be classed as either green, amber or red, with the colour coding used to indicate which locations are considered safe to visit.
The traffic light indicators will be decided depending on the number of coronavirus cases in various countries, helping to identify which destinations are safe and which aren’t.
Here’s what the traffic light grading system means:
- Green - countries are safer than the UK
- Amber - countries are less safe than those graded as green
- Red - passengers returning from these countries will need to self-isolate for 14 days
The quarantine restrictions will not apply to people who return from any countries that have been graded as either green or amber, although it is still unconfirmed whether UK travellers will be forced into self-isolation at the start of their holiday.
The news comes as the European Union finalises its list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter.
Ministers are due to confirm details of the new traffic light system following a review on Monday (29 June), which could allow Brits to go abroad.
Officials are to replace existing rules that require Brits to self-isolate on their return to the UK from abroad with the new colour-coded system, meaning only travellers returning from countries in the red category will have to enter a 14 day quarantine.
At present, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against all but essential international travel.
However, this advice is also expected to change following the review on Monday (29 June), lifting the ban on foreign travel.
A spokesperson for ABTA told The Mirror that the news should "encourage customers" to start booking holidays again, stating: “Confirmation of the list of countries is eagerly anticipated by the travel industry, and should encourage customers to book.
“The blanket Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel is still a major impediment, and we look forward to the Government adopting a similar risk-based approach to that advice.”
Which countries are safe to travel to?
The UK government is expected to announce the full list of countries on Wednesday (1 July), and restrictions could be lifted as soon as 6 July.
The green and amber grading is expected to cover every European nation, along with a selection of other countries.
Greece, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Barbados, New Zealand and Thailand are all expected to be on the green list, while Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Australia, Turkey and the Netherlands, among others, will be classed as amber.
The United States, Portugal, Sweden and South America are among those that are expected to be classed as red, due to the high number of coronavirus cases.
People who have travelled to the UK from countries that are graded as red under the new system will have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
All travellers who arrive in the UK from abroad will also have to supply contact information to allow health officials to trace them should someone they have been in contact with display symptoms, or test positive, for coronavirus.