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Government ‘considering four-tier traffic light system to save summer holidays’

The government is considering a traffic light system for travel (Metro.co.uk)

The government is considering a four-tier traffic light system that could allow people to travel abroad this summer. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said ministers were looking at the idea but added there were ‘challenges around international travel’, pointing towards rising Covid-19 infection rates in Europe.

When asked about the proposed traffic light system which could allow shorter quarantine periods with greater testing, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘We’re exploring all these issues as part of the international travel taskforce.

‘We consider all options as part of the travel taskforce.’

The Telegraph reported Heathrow Airport had recommended a traffic light system that would involve four levels, Green, Yellow, Amber and Red. 

Green list countries would have no travel restrictions attached but those coming from nations on the yellow list would need testing and/or vaccination certificates but no quarantine.

epa08945854 Travellers in the international arrival area of Heathrow Airport, near London, Britain, 18 January 2021. Travel corridors in the the UK were closed at 04:00 hours on 18 January 2021 as British government declared. Travellers arriving to England from anywhere outside the UK have to to self-isolate for 10 days and must have proof of a negative coronavirus test. Britain's national health service (NHS) is coming under sever pressure as Covid-19 hospital admissions continue to rise across the UK. EPA/NEIL HALL

Travellers in the international arrival area of Heathrow Airport in January (EPA)

Travel from amber countries would involve testing within 72 hours of leaving and when touching down in the UK.

Travellers can leave quarantine if they test negative on the third day here.

No entry will be permitted from high-risk red list countries except for British and Irish citizens and those with residence rights and certain jobs. 

They will have to quarantine for ten days, under the proposals.

Dowden added: ‘Clearly there are challenges around international travel, you only have to look across the continent and see the rising case rates in many of our nearest neighbours.

‘It has been in the past the case that those rising infection rates have seen their way to the UK, we’re hopeful that won’t happen this time round because of our progress with the vaccine and so on, but we do need to be cautious about that.’

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (Reuters)

Heathrow airport is said to have presented the traffic light idea to the government’s global travel taskforce, which is due to release a report on recommendations for safely implementing international travel next month. 

The roadmap for easing lockdown states those living in England can travel on holidays abroad from May 17 at the earliest. 

Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘The UK’s progress in the global vaccine race coupled with advances in testing, means that ministers no longer need to choose between public health and the economy – a risk-based approach to international travel will allow us to protect them both.’

He added: ‘Restarting trade and travel to key markets like the US after 17 May  will be key to the government achieving its Global Britain ambitions and helping communities across the UK to level up.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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