LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is set to announce the green list for countries that people can travel to on holiday shortly, and will have the right procedures in place to ensure travel can happen safely, said trade minister Liz Truss on Tuesday.
Hopes that Britons will be able to travel to Europe rose on Monday after the European Union recommended easing restrictions to allow fully vaccinated foreign citizens and countries with a “good epidemiological situation”.
The British government said in mid-April it would announce which countries would be open for quarantine-free travel from England in early May, ahead of a plan to allow holidays again from May 17 at the earliest. “I don’t think it will be much longer before we make those announcements,” Truss told Sky News.
Reports suggested the list could include about a dozen countries, although some newspapers suggested it could be fewer than 10.
Both The Times and The Guardian said destinations likely to make it onto the list for travel from 17 May include Portugal, Malta and Gibraltar, while the Telegraph said Spain, Greece and France could be added by the end of June. It comes as Boris Johnson said the approach to foreign travel this summer will be sensible and cautious to avoid “an influx of disease”.
The prime minister said there will be “some opening up” on 17 May, the next milestone in the government’s roadmap for restrictions to lift and when foreign travel is expected to resume, but that things must be done in a way “to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in” to the UK.
“People are looking to book a holiday but I would encourage people to wait until we make that announcement,” Truss added.
Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow, has raised concerns that any rise in passenger numbers could lead to long queues and overcrowding at border control as COVID-19 means border staff must check multiple forms.
Government has said it is working on plans to put proof of vaccination in a digital format to help speed up travel.
Truss said procedures would be in place to facilitate travel safely once it restarts.
“We need to make sure that we do have the set up correct at the airports, that we do have the mechanisms right before we go ahead,” she said.
Reuters / Sky / Times / The Guardian