Travel: Experts slam taskforce report on summer holidays
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Lockdown rules are slowly lifting across the UK, with now Britons permitted to visit pubs and restaurants outdoors. However, one element of returning to normal is still banned, with holidays abroad unable to take place just yet. Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap outlines May 17 as the potential date for free foreign travel, but there will still be some restrictions in place.
The Global Travel Taskforce is currently looking into how to categorise countries into a traffic light system, with green countries free to visit, amber requiring isolation on return and red banned.
Travel abroad will require frequent Covid tests, and specific rules may apply depending on the country.
So Britons eager for time in the sun this summer may be able to travel abroad after all.
However, new research has found just eight countries could make the Government’s green list come May.
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Analysis carried out by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG has looked at the Government’s four “risk” criteria for travel.
The four criteria are:
- Vaccination rates
- Covid prevalence
- Extent of variants
- Capacity for genome sequencing of the virus
The green light countries, according to modelling could be
- New Zealand
However, both Australia and New Zealand are currently not permitting visitors so may not be free to visit come May.
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Iceland has said visitors who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be permitted to stay.
While Gibraltar’s small population has meant it has vaccinated the highest percentage anywhere in the world – with all of its adult residents vaccinated.
The report said: “The surest case for green must be Gibraltar. It has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated.
“Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”
Much of Europe is on the amber list according to the report, which would mean 10 days in isolation upon return to the UK.
The study also found several countries which should be on the red list come the deadline, including France, Turkey, Holland, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.
And tourist hotspots like Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus are classed as amber countries on the report, due to high coronavirus rates.
However, economic and political factors could see those riskier countries downgraded.
The report said: “Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year.”
Ultimately, Britons will have to wait until next month to find out which destinations will be given the green light.
A statement on the government website says plans will be unveiled in ’early May’.
It reads: “It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer, and the government continues to consider a range of factors to inform the restrictions placed on them.
“We will set out by early May which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can resume from 17 May 2021.”
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