UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced England’s latest travel green list, paving the way for travel for several countries, including some islands in the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Sky News reports “it means these countries ‘are at risk of moving from green to amber’.
The UK Transport Department said: “Passengers are urged to take extra care when thinking about travelling to green watchlist countries.”
The Caribbean islands going on the green list include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Also on the go list are Bermuda, Portugal’s island of Madeira, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, and the Pitcairn Islands,” the report said.
“Mainland Portugal and Spain remain on the amber list.”
Meanwhile, Eritrea, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda have been added to the government’s red list, where visitors face a ten day mandatory hotel quarantine period on their return.
These countries have transitioned to the red list “to safeguard domestic vaccine rollout”, the Department for Transport said.
It added that they “present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern”.
Those returning from green locations are not required to self-isolate but they must take one post-arrival coronavirus test.
Spain’s Balearic islands, Malta, Madeira were also added to England’s travel green list.
According to the report: “The move means those heading to some popular holiday hotspots will not have to quarantine on their return following the latest review of the travel traffic light system.”
But the Transport Department said all of the new additions to the quarantine-free travel list, with the exception of Malta, will also be added to the government’s ‘green watchlist’.”
The traffic light rules mean:
Green list: Those returning from green locations are not required to self-isolate but they must take one post-arrival coronavirus test.
Amber list: People arriving in the UK from amber list countries have to take two post-arrival tests on day two and day eight after arriving and self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can reduce that time if they take an additional negative test on day five. The government does not recommend people go to amber list nations, unless it is essential.
Red list: Only British and Irish nationals are allowed into the UK from red list countries and quarantine at a government-approved hotel is mandatory.
At the government’s last travel list update at the beginning of June, Portugal moved from the green list to the amber list, forcing many travellers to scramble back to the UK before the quarantine deadline.
At that time, seven countries were also added to the red list from the amber list. They were: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Sri Lanka.
Mr Shapps admitted that moving Portugal to the amber list was “a difficult decision” given its popularity, but that it was downgraded because the government wants to give the UK “the best possible chance of unlocking domestically” when safe to do so.
Each country is assessed based on a range of factors, including what proportion of a population is vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
There have been calls from holidaymakers and travel firms for more countries to be moved from the amber list and for the government to drop the self-isolation rules for those who have been fully vaccinated.
The announcement came after Boris Johnson indicated earlier on Thursday that a relaxation of travel rules for those who have had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon.
There is a “real opportunity” to “open up travel through the double jab”, the prime minister said.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News on Tuesday that quarantine-free travel to amber list countries for people who have had two jabs is “absolutely something” the government is “working on”.