The UK’s traffic light system for international travel could be scrapped from next month, reports suggest.
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How would the new system work?
The new system would allow fully vaccinated travellers to visit countries with similarly high vaccination levels as in the UK, without having to quarantine, according to the BBC.
This so-called ‘go’ list would likely include countries currently categorised as green or amber.
It is expected that the red list category, which is in place for countries the government says should not be visited, will remain and form the ‘no-go’ list.
The government has reportedly asked senior travel industry leaders to make proposals for a new international travel system to replace the current, more complicated, traffic light lists.
Travel expert Paul Charles, CEO of The PC Agency, who has been sharing industry updates throughout the pandemic, including predictions on changes to the travel lists, has said the current system is expected to be scrapped by the end of this month.
He said: “The traffic light system is expected to be scrapped by 1st Oct - at last.
“Airlines and some of us in the sector are aware of plans to create a simpler system, where countries are either red or not.
“This would be the US model in effect, which I’ve been calling for.”
The changes would mark a welcome relief to the UK travel industry, which critics have said is opening up far more slowly than the rest of the world.
Will changes be made to testing?
As well as a more simplified approach to foreign travel, it is also expected that the government will announce post-holiday PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers.
PCR tests must currently be taken on the second day of arrival in the UK from overseas and cost around £70 on average.
It is understood that these will instead be replaced by lateral flow tests which are free.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said he is aware of the high cost of travel for families due to PCR testing and said the rule should not be in place “for a second longer than is absolutely necessary”.
He told Sky News: “I’m not going to make that decision right now, but I’ve already asked the officials that the moment we can, let’s get rid of these kinds of intrusions.”
Industry bosses have been calling on the government to scrap expensive PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers, as they claim the high costs put customers off booking.
If the change is introduced it would bring the UK in line with much of the European Union, which does not mandate Covid-19 tests for fully vaccinated travellers within the bloc.
When is the next travel update?
The travel reviews are scheduled to take place every three weeks, with the last update having taken place on Thursday 26 August.
The changes from this review came into effect from 4am on Monday 30 August.
The next review of travel restrictions is expected to come on Thursday 16 September, with any changes announced expected to come into force from 4am on the following Sunday or Monday.
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