Those travelling into the UK are facing ever stricter rules following the July 19 announcement of changes to the list of destinations affected by the Covid-19 traffic light system.
The system is broken down into Red, Amber and Green; Green are considered the ‘safest’ on the list.
However, the Green Watchlist, announced on June 30, is making things appear ever more fluid and risky for those who want to holiday abroad.
UK Transport Secretary Grant Schapps last month ordered all ‘Green’ countries to go on to the watchlist until a time when low infection rates in those areas were looking to stay low and within green limits and not being seen to rise.
Currently those travellers arriving in the UK from a Green or Green-watch country will not have to quarantine themselves when they arrive back in the UK, but will have to have had a Covid-19 test. Test can be ordered from recognized providers such as Medicspot. Travellers will also have to book and pay for a Day 2 test before flying home — to be carried back home within two days. Those that remain in a ‘watched’ country over the coming days and weeks will run the risk of it turning amber or red at short notice. And so, if downgraded to Amber, will have to book and pay for a second Day 8 test BEFORE flying home and to be carried out on day eight of their arrival in the UK.
This list of countries and territories on the UK Green list proper are as follows: Australia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Malta, Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.
Those that are currently on the Green Watchlist list include:
Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Grenada, Israel, Madeira, Montserrat, New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, Taiwan, Turks and Caicos Islands.
What does it exactly mean for those on holiday in Green Watchlist countries?
As we can see by the above, a large percentage of destinations are ‘watched’ countries. Travellers currently in a Green Watchlist country or territory are basically at the mercy of it changing to Amber at any time. However facing Amber ‘rules’ does not now require quarantine upon return unless Covid tests prove positive. So travellers are potentially not facing anything worse in terms of isolation than those coming in from ‘Green’ countries; but will need the Day 8 test.
If there is a sudden change in conditions, a country or territory may be moved between lists without warning. And therein lies the problem for those abroad right now.
The Balearic Islands for instance, which include popular holiday destinations Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca, have been moved to the Amber list after Covid cases tripled in Spain in just two weeks to 368 per 100,000 people.
Rules still apply if Green remains Green on arrival
As mentioned above, if a country on the Green Watchlist by the time you land in the UK is still within the ‘green’ boundaries, this will mean no quarantine (providing test results are negative). However, even if fully vaccinated, certain rules will still apply. Before you travel back to the UK you must take a Covid test (this doesn’t apply to children under 10).
A Day 2 Covid test will need to be booked and paid for before flying home and taken after they arrive in the UK.
Thirdly, a passenger locator form will need to be completed.
On arrival, you will have two days to take your booked Covid test. If it comes back negative you will avoid quarantine unless NHS Test & Trace tells you that you have travelled someone who has tested positive.
Also worth noting is that these rules are strictly speaking applicable to England. The rest of the UK Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland may have minor differences in their lists. So it’s worth checking if you have plans to explore northern Ireland before beginning your return plans.
With new strains appearing on the radar so frequently now, the Government obviously has some important decisions regarding the pandemic and travel rules which go with it.