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Are holidays abroad being given the 'green light'?

It's been the 'will-they, won't they' question of 2021 so far, as the government continues to keep us waiting on whether we might get a holiday abroad this summer. However, in a speech later today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to set out a framework to allow international travel from 17th May in a new traffic light system. But how will it work, what countries are on the list, and what deals are available right now? Simon Calder explains.

Today, the Prime Minister is set to announce that the near-blanket ban on foreign travel will be replaced by a traffic-light system, paving the way for holidays overseas in six weeks. Countries will be assessed according to their vaccination programmes, infection rates and prevalence of known variants and ability to identify them.

Travel to and from approved countries will require at least three Covid tests for each holidaymaker - one no longer than 72 hours before departure back to Britain and two after returning. Here's what is reported to be announced:


  • No quarantine or self isolation on return to UK

  • Must have one test within 72 hours before you return back to Britain

  • And two tests when you return (these can be lateral flow or PCR)


  • Must self isolate at home for 10 days upon return

  • The same 3 covid tests apply

  • Can pay extra to have 2nd test on 5th day to reduce isolation time


  • Must quarantine for 10 days in a hotel

  • The same 3 covid tests apply

  • Cannot have final test early and end isolation

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