The Foreign Office has declared Portugal and a handful of Greek and Spanish islands safe for travel in a possible hint at which areas could make it onto the holiday ‘green list’.
Government travel advice on the Foreign Office website gives an indication of which destinations could be on the ‘safe’ list of countries for which holidaymakers will not need to quarantine on their return.
The Foreign Office is no longer advising against all but essential travel to Portugal (bar the Azores), Spain’s Canary Islands and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.
Tourists visiting these popular summer hotspots do not face a level of risk for coronavirus that is “unacceptably high”, according to the latest updates from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The advice has also been quietly updated for Malta, Israel and the US Virgin Islands with the Foreign Office no longer advising against all but essential travel.
This advice does not supersede the Government’s ban on holidays abroad which remains until 17 May.
It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays under current Covid restrictions but that is expected to change on 17 May, the next date for easing in the government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’.
i reported last night that ministers were preparing to sign off on the next stage of lockdown easing.
The Government’s ‘green list’ of holiday destinations is expected to be published by the end of the week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated there will be a “cautious” reopening of foreign travel with a traffic light system whichwill categorise countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel.
Which countries could be on the green list?
While the green list is yet to be published, the FCDO has updated its website and is not advising against non-essential travel to Portugal (excluding the Azores), the Canary Islands or the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zante, Corfu and Crete.
This could be the most prominent hint yet that these areas will be on the ‘green list’.
Malta, Gibraltar and Israel are also expected to make the ‘green list’.
There is no guarantee that the green list will match the FCDO’s travel advice, but the latter indicates the Government’s current evaluation of the risks to tourists.
People arriving from a green location will not have to quarantine, while those returning from somewhere on the amber list must self-isolate for at least five days.
The red list requires a 10-night stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £1,750 for solo travellers.
Assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants, and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
When could travel open up to the rest of Europe?
Other European destinations including mainland Spain and Greece and France are expected to be added to the Government’s ‘green list’ by the end of June.
The EU Commission has said it could welcome visitors from countries with low Covid infections rates and who have been fully vaccinated by the beginning of June, but whether people in England will be able to travel there without quarantining all depends on the UK Government’s ‘green list’.
An official from the Balearic Islands said she was hopeful the islands could be included on the UK’s green list and could welcome British tourists this summer.
Tourism Director Rosa Ann Morilla Rodriguez told Sky News: “We have the right number, we have the right measures in place that will allow us to be considered ‘green’.”
“I think Mallorca is such an important destination for the UK that I’m confident we could have this travel corridor.”