Among the many government plans being mooted for a gradual emergence out of Covid restrictions is a so-called traffic light system for international travel.
How would this work?
While the idea has only been briefed and not confirmed, the idea is that foreign destinations would be graded as green, amber or red for UK travellers. Green countries would mean people could return to the UK with no restrictions. Amber destinations would most likely mean people having to quarantine at home, while red ones would require a formal, 10-day quarantine stay at a hotel.
How would this differ from now?
Currently, all foreign travel is banned bar for a handful of reasons. The bulk of people who come into the UK need to quarantine at a home or other single destination for 10 days – they can be released early if they test negative for Covid on day five. Arrivals from 34 existing “red list” countries must pay to quarantine at a hotel, with four more countries being added on 9 April.
What factors will decide which status countries are given?
A range of factors, including Covid infection rates, and the speed at which they are changing, and the extent of vaccination programmes.
When will we find out more?
Boris Johnson is due to announce details of Covid certification, so people can attend mass events in the UK and potentially information about overseas travel on Monday. It is understood he will host a Downing Street press conference on Monday afternoon.
Can I book a foreign holiday now?
It would be risky. The traffic light system has not yet been confirmed. Even if it was the status of particular countries would not necessarily be known and could change.
Is this the same as vaccine passports?
No. These are the quarantine details. In addition, some countries might seek proof of vaccination to allow overseas travellers into their countries. UK ministers have accepted the broad idea, not least because certain countries have previously insisted on proof of vaccination for other diseases before allowing people in. This is different from the idea of Covid certification within the UK, which Johnson is also due to give details about on Monday. This is expected to allow people to show proof of vaccination, or of a recent negative Covid test, or of a recent test showing Covid antibodies to be allowed into crowded venues, whether pubs or sporting events.