We all wish to see a return for international travel as soon as possible, but decisions are constantly changing and it’s difficult to fully understand what is required and when. So what do you need to know?
In response to the ongoing questions about travelling abroad, the Government have released a COVID-19 roadmap. The plan sets out a way to protect and support British citizens across the UK this summer.
As a result, when international travel does return, it will do so with the Government’s new traffic light system. There will be three new categories: green, amber, and red.
Green: No isolation on arrival to the UK, however pre-departure and a day 2 test will be required. Travellers will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests.
Amber: Arrivals will need to quarantine for 10 days and take a PCR test on Day 2 and Day 8. (A Test To Release may be necessary to reduce the quarantine period.)
Red: Individuals must pay for a 10-day quarantine in a quarantine hotel and take a PCR test on Day 2 and Day 8.
Testing will remain as an essential part of protecting public health. Those travelling to the UK are required to book a pre-departure, day 2 and day 8 test before travelling.
It is still too early to predict which countries will be on which list for the summer period, but a range of factors will be considered to ensure the correct restrictions are put in place.
The framework announced today is supported by a forward-looking response from the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps:
“International travel is vital – it boosts business 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.”
Currently, it is against the law to travel abroad for holiday purposes. A fine of £5,000 will be issued should you travel without a valid reason.
However, countries will start falling into categories by early May, following confirmation of whether international travel can resume from the 17th May 2021.
A COVID-19 charter will also be introduced from the 17th of May, clearly setting out what is required of passengers and what their rights are while measures remain in place.
Dr. Mike Tildesley, a member of the government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, states that the UK faces a ‘real risk’ if people decide to travel abroad this summer.
Dr. Mike Tildesley told BBC Breakfast:
“I think we are running a real risk if we start to have lots of people going overseas in July, for instance, and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country.”
The next step is for the Government task force to report to the Prime Minister on the 12th April, laying out how non-essential international travel might resume.
Obtaining a COVID-19 Fit-to-Fly certification has already become a feature of international travel. The UK and many other countries require evidence of a negative test pre-departure, as part of their border regimes.
Consequently, the Government expects such requirements to continue and is exploring new ways of making certification of testing more digital and integrated – as well as considering the implications of vaccines and what certification may be required around them.
If you are a British or Irish National, returning to the UK from a red list country after 4 am Friday 9th April, you will be able to enter. But you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on Day 2 and Day 8.
According to the Government’s roadmap, the vaccination programme could offer a more stable route. Travel abroad will depend on levels of vaccination at your chosen destination as well as your vaccination status at the time.
In addition, vaccine certificates/passports for travel are more likely to make trips easier but won’t be compulsory. The Government’s current plan is to ‘establish arrangements with other countries and international organisations to establish mutual recognition of certificates.’
For the time being, if you haven’t been vaccinated, you will be able to use tests as an alternative. Learn more about which test you require here.
Government guidance and regulations for travel are subject to change as we approach the summer season. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Government website.
Travel Safe – Wren Healthcare Team