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Traffic light system to pave the way for international travel: CityAM

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The government has announced plans for a new traffic light system to pave the way for the return of international travel in a boon for sun-hungry Britons.

However, the travel industry is angry with plans to force those traveling to least-risk countries to undergo expensive PCR tests before they leave and return.

Read more: Under-30s face AstraZeneca vaccine cancellation from tomorrow

Countries will be ranked according to risk, including a watchlist allowing nations to go from “green” to “amber”.

The traffic light system is expected to replace the current foreign travel ban, which expires on May 17.

All travelers will have to pay for PCR tests on their return to the UK at around 120 each, including those returning from countries on the safe ‘green list’.

People who have been fully vaccinated will also need to take PCR tests on or before the second day of their return to the UK, fearing that countries on the ‘green list’ may still harbor new variants of Covid.

Operation of the traffic light system:

  • Green:Passengers will not be required to self-quarantine upon their return to the UK, but will be required to take a Covid test before departure, as well as a test upon their return to Britain.
  • Amber:Travelers will need to be quarantined for 10 days, along with one test before departure and two PCR tests on return
  • Red:Passengers will be required to pay for a 10-day stay at a managed quarantine hotel, plus a pre-departure test and two PCR tests

Ministers have not yet announced which categories countries would fall into under the new system.

As part of the proposals, the controversial “intention to travel” form – which requires travelers to specify their reason for leaving the country – will also be dropped.

And work is also underway on a “digital travel certification system” – or “vaccination passport” – to facilitate international travel.

The Global Travel Taskforce is expected to make its recommendations to the government in the coming weeks, with the labels due to be released in early May.

Ministers will then review the program on June 28, which could reduce the need for rigorous testing in time for the summer vacation in July and August.

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Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said, “The framework will allow us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure our hard-earned achievements on vaccine deployment are protected and provide peace of mind. mind the passengers and the industry as we begin to take overseas trips again. “

‘Unsustainable’ costs will make travel ‘unsustainable’

However, the plans were met with backlash last night from Tory MPs and travel industry companies, who warned the restrictions meant vacations would be for the wealthy.

Tim Alderslade, managing director of Airlines UK, said: “This does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers, and the insistence on costly and unnecessary PCR testing rather than rapid testing, even for countries with low risk, will be an unsustainable burden on passengers, making travel unsustainable and unaffordable for many people.

“It is also a further setback for an industry on its knees and the UK’s broader economic recovery, with many companies and exporters reliant on our national and international connectivity and a thriving aviation sector.

Joint research by travel industry body ABTA and the Airport Operators Association (AOA) suggests that the cost of a PCR test in the UK is double that of other European countries.

According to the agencies, a pre-departure PCR test in the UK costs an average of 128 per person, while the average cost of the pre-departure test for eight key destinations is just under 62.

They called on the government to consider whether people who have been vaccinated can be exempted from testing when they travel to green list countries.

Read more: Profits of cruise ship operator Saga tumble as travel restrictions continue

Henry Smith, the conservative chairman of the multi-stakeholder group Future of Aviation Group, added: “I remain concerned that this is too cumbersome and expensive for the average passenger.

“This will not give travelers confidence to book a vacation from May 17th. I think this will seriously infringe on a revival of aviation and travel, certainly for this spring and probably for the summer.



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