The UK's Green List of Countries Whose Citizens Won't Need to Quarantine for UK Travel Excludes the U.S. and all EU countries except Portugal. The announcement, which applies to travel from May 17, 2021, was a huge disappointment to the UK and global travel industry. IATA (International Air Transport Association) Director Willie Walsh's terse remarks were “It’s very disappointing and frankly not worth commenting on,” while the head of Airlines UK, Tim Alderslade, asked why UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wasn't taking into account the protection enjoyed by fully vaccinated travelers, pointing out that Europe's proposed vaccine passport rules will permit fully vaccinated travelers from all countries to visit Europe (presumably still with a negative COVID-19 test), regardless of the number of coronavirus cases in their home countries.
The UK's new scheme codes countries as green, amber or red depending on key COVID-19 risk factors such as the country’s current coronavirus infection rates, the percentage of residents who have been vaccinated, the prevalence of more transmissible COVID-19 variants, and the country’s level of genomic sequencing.
Travelers from green list countries won't have to quarantine in the UK, but will have to test negative for COVID-19 pre-travel and again on their second day in the UK. Amber list countries will face pre-travel testing, a 10-day quarantine, and 2-3 COVID-19 PCR tests, which must be negative, during their time in the UK. Travelers from red list countries, in addition to testing negative prior to travel, will have to undergo their 10-day quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, then test negative again on their second and eighth days of quarantine.
At time of writing, the UK's Green List includes the following countries, a number of which are currently closed to travelers who are not citizens or permanent residents, rendering their inclusion moot for most:
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira)
- South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
- St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
The UK government has confirmed that the lists will be reviewed every 3 weeks, and will also launch a green watchlist sometime in the future, as an early indicator of when a country is likely to change status, either joining or leaving the green list.
We'll be carefully monitoring the UK's green list for our clients who have scheduled trips to the UK later in 2021.
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