A list of countries will be published this week according to risk, as part of the travel traffic light system for Brits wanting to holiday abroad.
The red, amber and green graded countries will vary depending on their Covid-19 situation – with the full list of green countries expected in the first week of May.
It is thought that the rate of infection, the stability of said rate, and the effectiveness of vaccination programmes will decide which colour destinations are assigned.
The Telegraph is reporting that government officials have reportedly said that “only a handful” of green countries will be approved for quarantine free travel.
While it is claimed that Iceland, Malta, Gibraltar and Israel will be given the green light – popular holiday destinations including Spanish and Greek islands are understood to be weeks away from being approved, despite having lower numbers than the mainland countries.
However, Portugal might be the only major beach destination that will make it onto the list ahead of May 17 when the government is expected to lift restrictions on international travel.
Ministers discourage foreign holidays
It comes as MPs want restrictions on foreign holidays to be maintained to protect the UK from Covid-19 variants.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus urged the Government to “discourage all international leisure travel”.
Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said he recognised a “natural desire to go further and to go faster” with the road map but the Government’s priority is to make changes when “safe” to do so.
He told Sky News: “I get that a lot of people over the course of the last year or so have missed travelling, they have missed seeing family and loved ones – I totally, totally get that.
“I understand the desire to move forward as quickly as possible but we have always said we will do this at a pace that is safe, that gives the scientists enough time to properly analyse the data after each set of restrictions are lifted.”
The APPG has claimed the importation of new variants could “lead to further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life”.
The cross-party group described airport arrival halls as “a breeding ground for infection”.
How traffic light system works
Holidaymaking Britons will be hoping that their destination of choice is given the green light as it will allow them to visit and return without quarantining.
The UK government is expected to confirm the reopening of international travel on May 10, with holidays abroad commencing a week later on May 17.
It is thought that the final decision on the list and the reopening of leisure travel will take place just days before Mr Johnson’s announcement.
Green destinations – Arrivals will have to take a pre-departure test and another PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK. No quarantine or additional tests will be needed unless a positive result comes back.
Amber destinations – Arrivals must quarantine for 10 days, take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight after their return, with the option of a “test to release” on day five to end self-isolation early.
Red destinations – Travel to these countries will be restricted along the same lines as the Government’s current “red list”, meaning returning travellers must stay for 10 days in a quarantine hotel, as well as take a pre-departure test and a further PCR test on day two and day eight after returning.
Additional reporting by PA.