Boris Johnson travel announcement: what the PM said about international travel and the traffic light system

Boris Johnson said the UK must be ‘realistic’ about international travel

The Prime Minister teased the reopening of international travel on April 5.

In a sign that foreign holidays could be off the cards this summer, Mr Johnson said the UK must be “realistic” over the resumption of foreign holidays due to “a surge” of coronavirus in popular destinations.

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Boris Johnson also confirmed that a risk-based ‘traffic light’ system would be adopted by the country with destinations allocated either a green, amber or red rating depending on the prevalence of coronavirus and the quality of vaccination rollout.

Boris Johnson teased plans for the reopening of international travel at a press briefing (Getty Images)

Frustratingly for the travel industry and travellers alike Mr Johnson did not provide a date on when international travel would open up.

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Did Boris Johnson rule out international travel?

The prime minister did not rule out international travel but advised travellers against booking holidays abroad.

Boris Johnson said the UK must be “realistic” over the resumption of foreign holidays due to “a surge” of coronavirus in popular destinations.

The Prime Minister told a Downing Street briefing “I wish I could give you more on that” but insisted there was not enough “solid data” on the virus.

He said: “Plainly, there is a surge in other parts of the world and we have to be to be mindful of that and we have to be realistic.”

What did he say about the traffic light system?

Downing Street has confirmed that when the rules are relaxed there will be a risk-based “traffic light” system with red, amber and green ratings for countries around the world.

Travellers arriving from countries rated green will not be required to isolate although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.

For those classed as amber or red, the restrictions will remain as they are with arrivals required to isolate or enter quarantine.

Officials have made clear that there will be no announcement this week on which country is on which list – a decision which has been criticised by tourism industry bosses.

Did he give a date for when international travel would open up?

Under England’s road map for easing pandemic rules, the earliest that foreign holidays could be permitted is May 17.

Mr Johnson said: “Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17, we are hopeful.

“But I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulty we are seeing in some of the destination countries people might want to go to.

Mr Johnson said the Government will set out “well before May 17th what we think is reasonable”.

He added: “I know that people watching will want to know exactly what they can do from May 17th but we’re not there yet.

“As soon as we have solid information, more solid data, we’ll let you know.

“But that’s where we are for the time being.”

The initial findings of the global travel taskforce review published on Monday said it was too early to say whether holidays abroad could be permitted from May 17, with international holidays currently banned during the lockdown.

When will we know more?

According to the government the global travel taskforce will “report on 12 April with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern.”