Testing capacity can't meet international travel needs says expert
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Foreign travel has been off the cards completely for Brits since the start of the most recent coronavirus lockdown in January. But as the Government’s plan for international travel is set to be fully unveiled next week, the upcoming loosening of lockdown restrictions in France means visitors may be permitted once again sooner rather than later.
May 17 is currently the set date for when international travel plans will go into action, with finalised plans expected to be announced next week.
Travel will resume under a traffic light system, with countries split into three categories – green, amber and red.
While the Department for Transport has said it is still “too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer,” a leaked report indicates travel to France could resume within the next few months, just in time for the summer holiday season.
France has administered just over 20 million doses of the vaccine, with 5.7 million people fully vaccinated – approximately 8.5 percent of its population.
When can I holiday in France?
As it currently stands, British holidaymakers will be able to travel to France from June 9, according to a leaked report.
France will begin lifting its lockdown from Monday.
Restaurant terraces are planned to reopen in mid-May, and the country is apparently preparing to be back to normal by the end of June, according to the report.
This will mean France joins Spain, Portugal, and Greece in reopening to foreign tourists with a vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test result.
How will the traffic light system work?
The lists will be decided based on the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- The prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
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All levels will require coronavirus tests to take place, whether the holidaymaker has a vaccine or not.
Those travelling to green countries will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival back into the UK – but will not be required to quarantine.
Those travelling to amber countries will need to quarantine for ten days as well as do the two tests above.
There will also be an option to take an additional test, which must be paid for, on day five of the isolation, in order to come out early.
Those travelling from red list countries will need to quarantine in a designated, managed hotel when they return.
The Government is looking at ways to reduce the price of testing, with PCR tests normally costing around £120-£160.
A Government spokesperson said: “We will work with the travel industry and private testing providers ahead of international travel reopening, to see how we can further reduce the cost of travel for the British public, while ensuring travel is as safe as possible.
“This could include cheaper tests being used when holidaymakers return home, as well as whether the Government would be able to provide pre-departure tests.”
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