Government confirms traffic light list for England ahead of cautious return to international travel
7 May 2021

Government confirms traffic light list for England ahead of cautious return to international travel

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today that international travel from England will no longer be illegal from 17 May 2021 but strict border control measures will remain in place.

See the full list of which countries are in which classification and the updated government guidance

The brevity of the green list and the absence of many key source markets including much of Europe, along with the cost of testing and ongoing quarantine measures, present devastating barriers to doing business for the UK ELT sector.

While we support a risk-based approach to reopening and removing travel restrictions, it will be many months until recovery can begin for UK ELT. One third of English UK members anticipate zero recovery in 2021. Two thirds expect less than 40% recovery. The summer season is vital for our industry.

We continue to call on the government to provide targeted business support for UK ELT and other industries that rely on inbound tourism. This is needed now more than ever.

Green list countries and territories

There are only 12 countries and territories on the green list, which allows people to enter the UK without the need to self-isolate or go into quarantine. These are:

  • Portugal
  • Israel
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Brunei
  • Iceland
  • Gibraltar
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island

The lists will be reviewed every three weeks from 17 May, informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre's assessment of the latest data.

The government will also be publishing watchlists to provide an indication when a country is identified as a candidate for changing traffic light category. All measures will be kept under review and further action may be taken to protect public health.

International travel will be different as passengers are warned to expect additional checks and longer queues at the border.

Additions to red list countries and territories

The following countries have been added to the red list:

  • Turkey
  • Maldives
  • Nepal

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not said when they might ease their strict travel restrictions, but Grant Shapps stated in response to a question from a journalist that all four of the UK's chief medical officers agreed the principles behind the traffic light system.

See the full press release from the Department for Transport

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