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How will a foreign travel traffic light system work?

A traffic light system categorising countries based on their Covid-19 risk levels forms part of potential plans for the return of foreign holidays.

The measure is among the recommendations of a report from the government's Global Travel Taskforce which outlines how international travel could resume from May 17.

What is the traffic light system?

The taskforce said that people arriving home from abroad would still be subject to rules such as home quarantine and strict testing, but these will be differently applied depending on the country visited:

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.

How will this affect travellers' plans?

Under the traffic light system, arrivals from red countries will need to book a "quarantine package" before departing on their travels.

Those coming back from amber or green destinations will also be required to book "test packages" from a government list of providers before travelling.

The government plans to work with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of foreign travel.

This could include free pre-departure tests and cheaper tests when holidaymakers return.

Are vaccine passports involved at all?

The government did not make a specific reference to "vaccine passports" in its latest announcement.

It said the UK will play a leading role "in the development of international standards around a digital travel certification system".

Work is ongoing within government to "consider the role certification could play in facilitating outbound travel, for those countries which have systems in place" as well as to develop "a system that would facilitate travel certification for inbound international travel".

The concept of a vaccine passport would see travellers being required to show proof of receiving a Covid-19 jab to facilitate foreign travel.

Boris Johnson has previously indicated that vaccine proof will be likely for those wanting to travel internationally.

Which countries are going to be green, amber or red?

The government said it will set out by "early May" which countries will fall into which category, with it currently being "too early to predict" how destinations will be listed over the summer.

It will also confirm whether international travel can resume from May 17.

Can countries move between these categories?

The allocation of countries' categories will be kept under review and will respond to "emerging evidence", with a particular focus on variants of concern, the government said.

To help travellers plan ahead, a "green watchlist" will be set up to flag which countries are most at risk of moving into the amber category.

But the government warned that it would not hesitate to "act immediately" if data showed a destination's risk rating had changed.

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