Britain will confirm in early May whether it will allow the resumption of international travel from May 17 and which countries will fall into the red, orange or green categories in a new traffic light system based on COVID-19 risks.
Giving new details on how it hopes to enable people to travel this summer, the government’s global travel task force also said work was underway to develop a certification system, sometimes referred to as “vaccine passports.” , for inbound and outbound trips.
Britain is gradually emerging from a strict winter lockdown caused by a huge increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths. As it stands, international travel is prohibited except under specific circumstances defined by the government.
The number of cases has declined dramatically since the January peak, and one of the government’s top priorities is to avoid undermining the success of the national COVID-19 vaccination program by importing vaccine-resistant variants from the foreign.
To date, more than 31.8 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 6.1 million have received two, in one of the fastest mass vaccination campaigns in the world. world.
“The framework announced today will allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure the protection of our hard-earned vaccine deployment achievements, and provide peace of mind to passengers and passengers alike. ‘industry as we resume overseas travel, “Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said.
Airlines, travel agents and members of the public keen to plan their summer vacations have pressured the government to explain what the rules would be.
Under the new traffic light system, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine and mandatory COVID testing will apply differently depending on the passenger’s country of origin category.
Factors to assess which category a country should fall into will include the percentage of the population vaccinated, the infection rate, the prevalence of variants of concern, and the country’s access to reliable genomic sequencing.
There will be a “green watch list” identifying countries most at risk of going from green to orange, although the government has said it would not hesitate to change a country’s category in the short term. if the data shows that the risk had increased.
The task force recommended removing a currently required ‘travel authorization form’, meaning passengers would no longer need to prove they had a valid reason to leave Britain.
He also said he was working with the travel industry and with private COVID-19 testing providers to reduce the cost of travel for the British public.
“This could include cheaper tests used when vacationers return home, as well as whether the government would be able to provide pre-departure tests,” the travel task force statement said.
Under current rules, free tests provided by the National Health Service are not available for travel, meaning passengers have to turn to private providers who charge high fees for testing.
The task force said a digital travel certification system would be part of the plan, but gave few details besides saying Britain wanted to play a leading role in developing international standards in this domain.
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