Covid: 'Green list' of summer holiday destinations revealed

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi on the latest "green travel list" where travellers from England will not need to self-isolate on their return

Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Israel are among the countries which are on England's travel green list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

The ban on non-essential travel abroad from England is expected to be lifted on May 17 as part of Boris Johnson's coronavirus roadmap, paving the way for summer getaways for holidaymakers.

The Covid travel system will list countries as green, amber or red, with anyone returning from a green list country not required to enter any form of quarantine.

Brits travelling to destinations on the green list from England will not need to isolate on their return, but they will need to take a Covid test before and after their trip.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not confirmed when they might ease their Covid travel rules.

‘Green list’ of holiday destinations for travellers in England announced by Grant Shapps

Which countries are on the 'green list'?

  • Australia

  • Brunei

  • Faroe Islands

  • Falkland Islands

  • Gibraltar

  • Iceland

  • Israel

  • New Zealand

  • Portugal including Madeira and Azores

  • Singapore

Despite being on the green list, people will not be able to go on holiday to Australia, New Zealand or Singapore as they are closed to UK tourists.

People who are travelling to countries on the green list will still need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before their return travel, and a single PCR test on or before day two of their arrival into England.

Currently, PCR tests alone typically cost £120 each, although several travel companies offer them for £60.

Tui, the UK’s largest holiday company, is to offer coronavirus tests from just £20 to green list countries in a bid to "make travel a possibility".

ITV News Video Producer Natalia Jorquera explains the latest travel rules

The green travel list is due to be reviewed every few weeks, so it is anticipated other popular holiday destinations such as Spain, France and mainland Greece could make the list by the end of June.

However Mr Shapps has warned travellers should not book holidays that do not include a refund policy if the country’s Covid situation changes.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Mr Shapps said: "Green list countries will be placed on a watch list.

"If we start to have any concerns, and if it is necessary because of a new upswing in cases or a new variant, we will not hesitate to act fast and withdraw green status."

Tourists relax in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, Iceland. Credit: AP

Mr Shapps added: "Our strong advice is not to book any holiday which does not include a refund in the event that the Covid-related situation changes and you’re able to cancel.

"I’m afraid we do expect longer delays at airports."

However Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has said the new travel system continues a "lax approach to protecting borders".

In a statement, he said: "The Government has failed to protect our borders from Covid with a lax and ineffective system that has allowed dangerous strains to reach the UK.

"The system announced will continue that failure, as only a tiny percentage of people will be required to undertake hotel quarantine, despite the virus continuing to mutate and transmit across the world."

Mr Shapps also confirmed Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal have been added to the red list.

People returning from those countries after 4am on Wednesday will be required to stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.

The most popular European destinations with UK holidaymakers – such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece – are on the amber list.

That means people returning from those countries must self-isolate at home for at least five days.

What is the traffic light system and how will it work?

The government will use the traffic light system and put every nation in a category depending on their current Covid situation.

Assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population which has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Listen to our coronavirus podcast

What are the rules for people returning from each category?

  • Green: There is no need to self-isolate. Take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two of your arrival in the UK.

  • Amber: Self-isolate for 10 days, unless you receive a negative result from a test taken at least five days after arrival. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.

  • Red: Spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel. Take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on day two and day eight of your arrival in the UK.

How can you get the vaccine passport for foreign travel if you've had two doses?

People who have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will be able to use the NHS app to demonstrate their status, the Department of Transport has confirmed.

People who do not have the app will be able to request an NHS letter from Monday May 17.