On May 17, travel will once again be allowed for residents of the UK. The government’s new traffic light style system was officially revealed on May 7, placing countries as either green, amber, or red status.
For nations in green status, travel will be allowed with relatively minor testing requirements and no quarantine. For those in amber, testing and a five to ten day quarantine will be required. However, for countries in red status, travel would require an expensive ten day stay in a quarantine hotel upon return, meaning that travel to nations on the red list would only be possible for special exceptions such as work and healthcare.
The following four criteria were used in determining the status for countries:
- Percentage of population who is vaccinated
- Current rate of infection
- Prevalence of more infectious variants
- Access to reliable genomic sequencing
The nation’s red list of banned travel destinations has been known for some time prior to the May 7 release; however, there was curiosity regarding which destinations may be added or removed from the list when the green and amber lists were revealed. The most recent addition prior to May 7 was India.
The May 7 announcement led to no countries being removed from the 40-nation red list and three additional countries being added, bringing the total to 43. These included Turkey, remote island destination The Maldives, and Nepal.
Among the other nations on the red list are Brazil, Chile, Kenya, Argentina, Peru, South Africa, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. The vast majority of the red list nations lie in either Africa or South America.
An area of contention in the decision was the United Arab Emirates which has given notice that British visitors would be welcomed with open arms. However, despite the world’s second-fastest vaccination rate, Dubai’s status as a major airport hub likely prevented it from moving to amber.
Residents awaiting to plan their holiday will now be able to begin being booking reservations; however, the temples of Peru, coral reefs of the Maldives, and destinations in these other 41 nations will not be on the list of possibilit