Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce the results of the next travel review next week.
Croatia, Bulgaria, Hong Kong and Taiwan were all added to the green list at the last review.
But much of the upcoming announcement could centre around the “amber-plus” list, to which France was added last week.
Fully vaccinated people can now travel to amber list countries without having to quarantine upon their return.
But the Government removed this privilege for France, due to concern over the Beta variant of Covid-19, and there are fears more countries could follow.
When is the next travel review?
The Government is reviewing the traffic-light system every three weeks.
This means the next review should either be on Wednesday 4 or Thursday 5 August.
The announcements have normally been on Thursdays, but the Transport Secretary moved the most recent update forward by a day.
The Department for Transport said: “These regular review points will allow the Government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries.”
How the traffic-light system works
The lists are decided based on the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
- The rate of infection
- The prevalence of variants of concern
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
Here are the rules for each list of the traffic light system:
- Green: Arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into the UK – but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests
- Amber: Arrivals will need to quarantine for a period of 10 days and take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on day two and day eight. There will be the option to take an additional test on day five to end self-isolation early
- Red: Arrivals will be subject to restrictions currently in place for “red-list” countries which include a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing on day two and eight
The Government has told people not to travel to countries not on the “green list”, other than for essential reasons.
The Government has been looking at ways to reduce the price of testing, with PCR tests generally costing around £120-160, while some travel providers have heavily subsidised the costs.
What should we expect?
Reports have suggested that travellers could be in luck at the next update, the Daily Telegraph suggesting that the Joint Biosecurity Centre is reviewing up to 77 countries for potential inclusion on the green list.
While it seems highly unlikely that all of these destinations will make the cut, two of the UK’s most prominent travel experts agree that eight countries – some of them popular holiday destinations – should get the green light.
Both Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultants The PC Agency and former BA strategist Robert Boyle believe that Austria, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland will make the green list.
Mr Charles also anticipates that Bosnia, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, San Marino and Slovenia will be added, while Mr Boyle suggests Azerbaijan, Bhutan and Vietnam are in with a shot.
There are also a group of countries likely to be added to the green watchlist, according to Mr Charles, including Japan, Norway, South Korea and Sweden.
According to Mr Charles, there is also set to be some movement on the amber list in the next review, which could be good news for people hoping to take advantage of the new quarantine rules.
However, the travel expert also suggests that some locations could be downgraded from the green list, with stricter rules for Malta, Madeira and Israel.
How does the ‘amber-plus’ list work?
UK travellers arriving back from “amber-plus” countries must quarantine for up to 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
They must also take a PCR test on or before day two of their arrival, and another on day eight.
Double-jabbed people can take an additional test on day five, and leave quarantine early if the result is negative.
However, they still must take the day eight test.