The British Public will find out which nations they will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel abroad to in summer “in the next couple of weeks”
The British public will find out which nations they will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel abroad to over the summer “in the next couple of weeks”, as the UK transport secretary confirmed that an NHS app will be used as a COVID-19 travel passport in order for some to visit abroad.
Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap for easing UK coronavirus lockdown restrictions, international travel without one of the current exemptions, which would exclude holidays, will not be permitted any earlier than the 17th of May.
Ministers have set out new plans for a “traffic light” system that may be used this summer in order to categorise different travel destinations.
And, speaking on Sky News on Wednesday Grant Shapps, the UK’s Transport Secretary, revealed “in the next couple of weeks” that he will be able to give the details on which countries would have made it on to the country’s “green list”.
This comes after Britons’ prospects of booking a holiday abroad this summer have been given a boost, with the UK government saying that COVID passports will become available “as soon as possible”.
These will be destinations where the British public will be able to travel abroad without having to go into quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a COVID-19 test before they depart, as well as on their return back into the UK.
Grant Shapps also confirmed that an NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether or not they have had a vaccine for the coronavirus, or tested negative for COVID-19, before travelling abroad.
“It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” he added.
“I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognised.”
Government sources have clarified that the app would not be the current NHS COVID-19 app, which is currently used to “check in” to venues such as pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes, but would instead be the NHS app that is used to book general appointments.
The Transport Secretary said that he was awaiting data from the government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre before them being able to state which countries would be put under “green”, “amber”, or “red” within the traffic light system.
He also warned that there was a need to be “very cautious” about allowing the British public to freely travel abroad again.
“Beyond our shores we are seeing the highest levels of coronavirus that we have seen so far in the entire pandemic, right now,” he added.
“So we do need to make sure we do this very, very carefully – we don’t want to throw away the lockdown, we don’t want to throw away our remarkable rollout in this country of the vaccination.
This comes after the Daily Mail has reported that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told an October meeting: “No more ****ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands!”
“But, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system and that ‘green’ list in particular are the countries where you’ll be able to go to without needing to quarantine on your return.
“You will still need to take a pre-departure test and one test on your return.
“I think people are getting very used to testing now, not least because we provide testing up to twice a week for everyone in the country right now. So I don’t think a test itself is a big deal.”