The Government has announced the results of the latest travel review, with key European destinations like Spain, France, Portugal and Greece remaining on the amber list.
There was movement on all three lists in the update, although Turkey remained on the red list in a blow to hopeful holidaymakers.
While experts correctly predicted that Spain wouldn’t turn red, many of the countries thought to be in with a shot of the green list remained amber.
The findings of the latest review were announced on 26 August, with changes coming into effect from 4.00am on Monday 30 August – here’s what happened to each list.
Which countries went from amber to green?
A total of seven countries moved from amber to the green list for quarantine-free travel:
- the Azores (Portugal)
Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said after the announcement: “The latest changes are welcome for Scots with loved ones in Canada but once again show that international travel remains challenging.”
He added: “It is vitally important we protect that progress through continued vigilance on importation, and we continue to urge caution given the risks caused by variants of concern.”
Ahead of the update, Paul Charles of the PC Agency had predicted the likes of Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Poland could also turn green, while Bhutan and the Czech Republic were also thought to have a shot.
Did any countries go on the amber list?
There was no movement from the green list to amber, which was roughly in line with what had been predicted.
Travel expert Tim White told i before the announcement that the mainstream European destinations looked set to remain on the amber list.
He said: “For those worried about their destinations turning red, I don’t think there are many worries for usual tourist destinations.
“I very much doubt any EU destination will be affected. So Greece, Spain and their islands, Cyprus, Portugal etc are all expected to stay amber with the Beta variant almost squeezed out now.”
Mr Charles had suggested that Croatia, Madeira, Lithuania, Antigua and Turks and Caicos could turn amber, while it was Germany and Norway could have been added to the green watchlist.
There was also no movement from the red list to amber, despite hopes that Turkey might finally be set for the amber list, with the country’s embassy insisting “we expect the UK” to make the change.
However, as it transpired it remained on the red list, dashing hopes of a late summer break.
Which countries went onto the red list?
Montenegro and Thailand moved from the amber to the red list with mandatory hotel quarantine restrictions.
The Government said that this move reflected “the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health”.
There had been speculation that the likes of Jamaica, Morocco, Dominica – which is currently on the green list – and St Lucia could all go red ahead of the announcement.
The system is based on the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- Prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
There are currently four traffic light categories.
Green: arrivals must take a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK, as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. They do not have to quarantine unless their test is positive, and there is no requirement for additional tests.
Green watchlist: The same rules apply as for the green list, but countries on this list are “at risk of moving from green to amber”, potentially without much warning.
Amber: all travellers are required to take a pre-departure test three days before returning as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must also self-isolate for 10 days and take a second PCR test on day eight of their return. An optional day-five test can be taken, with a negative result allowing travellers to “test out” of quarantine, but the day-eight test must still be taken regardless of the result.
Red: arrivals must undertake a 10-day quarantine in a managed hotel at a cost of £2,285 per solo adult (with more charges for additional people sharing a room) as well as pre-departure testing, and mandatory PCR testing on or before day two and on or after day eight.