Travel expert says that rule changes can be ‘daunting’
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International travel to green list countries has resumed, with thousands of Britons jetting off to soak up the sun. Countries on the list include the Cayman Islands, Madeira and the Balearic Islands as well as Caribbean nations including Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda and Grenada. With the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus variants, these countries have been placed on what is known as the watchlist.
The travel traffic light system categorises countries in terms of whether or not travel is permitted, as well as what restrictions are in place.
The green watchlist is an additional measure that the Government is using to identify the countries most at risk of moving from the green list to the amber list.
It aims to avoid abrupt changes which last year resulted in travellers rushing back to the UK as quarantine was imposed on countries and regions with little notice.
There are currently a number of destinations on the green watchlist including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Balearic Islands, Barbados, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.
Dominica, Grenada, Israel and Jerusalem, Madeira, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands are also placed on the watchlist.
This means the Government can at any point, move these countries to the amber list, meaning holidaymakers will have to isolate upon returning back into the UK.
Although the likelihood of a country moving to an amber list imminently is rare, Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency explained that holidaymakers need to be “aware” of the travel rule changes.
Appearing on GB News, he explained: “It causes a huge amount of distress, if you’re on holiday and of course people go abroad for lots of reasons, to visit family or see a fiancé they haven’t seen for a year, as well as holidays, especially if you’re on holiday and you’re trying to relax.
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“You’re going on holiday because you’ve had a difficult time in the last few months maybe, say if you are a key worker or you need a break from work.
“Often you’re under some pressure when you take that trip and therefore you don’t want to be on holiday thinking about forms you’ve got to fill in, testing you’ve got to pay for at an expensive cost when you return to the UK.”
He added that the Government’s watchlist creates a layer of “complexity” which makes it hard for Britons to travel to watchlist countries.
“It makes it very difficult for those who want to travel abroad at the moment and that’s why so many of us have decided to stay at home,” Mr Charles said.
Countries on the watchlist will be kept under review and “respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on variants of concern”.
Mr Charles went on: “It is daunting…people have been booking since the green list was widened and the green watchlist was introduced last week.
“Definitely the numbers are increasing but it’s nothing like what the travel sector is used to and certainty used to this time two years ago before the pandemic.”
Countries on the green list without the current risk of moving to amber include Brunei, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands as well as St Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha.
On arrival into England from a green list country, you need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day two after you arrive and there is no quarantine imposed.
Those travelling from an amber list face quarantine for 10 days with a COVID-19 test on or before day two as well as on or after day eight.
You may also be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private test through the Test to Release scheme.
With the Government reviewing the traffic-light system every three weeks, the next announcement is due mid-July.
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