UK will announce new rules to restart international travel

PM Johnson launches mass testing programme as economy reopens

Photo: EPA PM Boris Johnson

Britain will on Monday set out plans to restart international travel, using a "traffic-light" system as the country cautiously emerges from lockdown, news wires reported. The announcement comes as the UK has set a tentative date of 17 May to relaunch international travel, which is currently banned except for a handful of permitted reasons.

Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk, Downing Street said in a statement late Saturday, with the government to provide more details on Monday.

The government said the new system "will help ensure the UK's vaccine progress isn't jeopardised and provide clear guidance for travellers". People heading to low-risk "green" countries will simply take a virus test before and after they travel, the government said. But those going to amber or red countries will have to self-isolate or quarantine afterwards.

More than 70 UK MPs opposed the issue of "virus passports" for international travel, an idea backed by many tourism-dependent countries and airlines. The UK has already given out more than 31 million first vaccine doses and over 5 million second doses.

Currently people arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 10 days. British nationals who arrive from a banned "red list" of high-risk countries face costly quarantine in government-approved hotels. The government urged people not to book summer holidays, saying it was "too early to predict" which would be the green-lighted countries.

Earlier on Monday British PM Boris Johnson said in a statement that everyone in England will be able to take a Covid-19 test twice a week in a new drive to track the pandemic as society reopens. Junior health minister Edward Argar said the tests would be sent to homes or businesses, or picked up from pharmacies or test centres.



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