Travellers could avoid quarantine after both Covid vaccine doses under plans to resume foreign holidays

Travellers returning to the UK from abroad will be expected to have pre-departure Covid tests (Photo: Getty Images)
Travellers returning to the UK from abroad will be expected to have pre-departure Covid tests (Photo: Getty Images)

UK travellers who have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine could avoid quarantine measures, under government plans to resume foreign holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce when international travel may restart on Monday (5 April).

It is expected that the government will introduce a traffic light system for foreign travel, with countries to be rated as red, amber or green based on Covid infection rates, vaccination levels, and the prevalence of coronavirus variants.

What are the rules on foreign travel?

Overseas holidays are currently banned in the UK due to the current lockdown measures, with travel only permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as for work or study.

Legislation means that people living in England and Wales risk being issued with a £5,000 fine for breaking the rules.

In Scotland, it is currently illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes. The Scottish government has said that foreign travel will not be possible before 17 May and maybe for some time after.

Similarly, in Northern Ireland it is illegal to travel outside the Common Travel Area (UK, Republic of Ireland (ROI), Isle of Man and Channel Islands), unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

Covid tests before travel

Mr Johnson is due to outline plans for easing travel restrictions in England on Easter Monday (5 April), including requirements for foreign trips.

Travellers returning to the UK from abroad will be expected to have pre-departure Covid tests regardless of their vaccination status, according to plans from the government’s global travel taskforce.

However, those who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus could need fewer tests when returning from low-risk countries.

People who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine may also avoid having to quarantine for 10 days following a visit to medium-risk countries, according to The Telegraph.

It comes after the Times reported on Friday (2 April) that travel to and from red-list countries will be banned, while green-list countries are expected to be free from quarantine measures.

Any restrictions on travelling abroad could see Brits shun international travel in favour of a domestic holiday, with scientific experts recommending that staycations should be encouraged over foreign trips this year.

Hesitancy towards the Covid-19 vaccine across parts of mainland Europe may also see popular tourist spots avoided by UK holidaymakers, with these locations deemed more high-risk than the likes of the US and Israel, where vaccination rates are good.

How would a traffic light system work?

A traffic light system for travel would allocate countries a colour depending whether they are safe for travellers to visit for a summer holiday.

Reports have suggested that no travel restrictions would be attached to green countries, but those returning from yellow listed countries would be required to present proof of Covid-19 testing and/or vaccination before entering the UK. Although no quarantine requirements would be in place in this case.

Travel to and from an amber country would require a coronavirus test within seven hours of departure and arrival to and from the UK, with travellers able to leave quarantine on the third day if they test negative.

No entry would be permitted from red-list countries with limited exceptions.