The Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, has released a framework that sets out how international travel can return in a safe way. Utilising a traffic light system that will place countries into risk categories in an effort to protect the public & vaccination programme from new variants of Covid-19.
Currently, international travel for non-essential reasons is banned under law. This will seek to change from May 17th at the earliest. The new system is separated in three categories:
· Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into the UK - but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests, halving the cost of tests on their return from holiday
· Amber: arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early
· Red: arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day 2 and 8
Grant Shapps said ‘’International travel is vital – it boosts businesses and underpins the UK economy – but more than that, it brings people together, connects families who have been kept apart, and allows us to explore new horizons.
‘’The framework announced today will help allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-won achievements on the vaccine roll out, and offer peace of mind to both passengers and industry as we begin to take trips abroad once again.’’
The release of the framework has been met with widespread disappointment at the lack of clarity. Jet2 have suspended all operations until June 24th, chief executive Steve Heapy said ‘’My initial reaction is disappointment, to be honest.
“After five weeks of the Global Travel Taskforce putting together the report they’ve come up with something that isn’t an awful lot different in structure to that we had in place last summer.
“They’ve committed to looking at cheaper tests but there’s no real detail.
“We are trying to run an airline, and we don’t know when we can start flying, where we can start flying to and the conditions under which we are operating’’
While Easyjet Chief Executive Johan Lundgren said: “A two test system including a PCR test for travel from low risk green countries is a blow to all travellers wishing to visit family and friends or take a much-needed holiday this summer.
“This risks reversing the clock and making flying only for the wealthy. Moreover it is hugely frustrating that the taskforce has not delivered what the prime minister said they should achieve in making this flexible and and affordable.’’’
Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash