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The first hint of summer vacation destinations that could be considered safe for UK travelers came after the government updated its recommendations on visiting Portugal, some Greek islands and the Spanish Canary Islands.
The latest updates to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) formal travel advisories show that the UK is no longer advising against “all but essential travel” in a number of selected locations.
Portugal (with the exception of the Azores) as well as the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete as well as the Spanish Canaries were updated on Tuesday morning, which means that vacation travel is theoretically – if not yet in practice – now allowed.
However, tourism in and out of the countries remains prohibited under Covid restrictions until the government announces its traffic light system for travel, which can take place from May 17 at the earliest.
The so-called “green list” of the safest countries to travel to is expected at the end of this week. Families and the tourism industry have a little over 10 days to prepare for the initial release of restrictions.
Those returning from Green List countries do not need to be quarantined. Those returning from Amber List countries must self-isolate for at least five days. Travelers returning from a red list country would be forced to take a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £ 1,750 for solo travelers.
There is no guarantee that the Greek Islands, Portugal or the Canary Islands will be on the green list, but the new updates to the FCDO travel advice will spark fierce speculation with the travel industry that they are up for an early easing of the curbs.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman stressed that the Foreign Office’s advice on risk assessment for each country is currently being overridden by the current Covid restrictions on travel.
“There is a difference between the Foreign Office tour guide and the government’s overarching travel restriction rules, which have not changed, and the guidelines on whether people are allowed to travel. That remains, ”he said.
The so-called “Global Travel Taskforce”, which was set up under Minister of Transport Grant Shapps, is to provide initial information on overseas tourism in the coming days.
Green List ratings are based on a number of factors including a country’s percentage of a country’s population vaccinated, infection rates, new variants, and a country’s access to reliable scientific data and genome sequencing.