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Recently, the UK government announced the much-needed framework for the resumption of international travel in line with the recommendation suggested by the Global Travel Taskforce. 

Among others, the framework includes the possibility of easing lockdown measures thus possibly enabling UK travellers to soon travel internationally on non-essential trips on the 17th of May 2021. The approach also highlights a traffic light system that will categorize countries based on risk along with the required travel restrictions.

Here is all you need to know about the Global Travel Taskforce and the upcoming UK traffic light system.


What is the Global Travel Taskforce?

The Global Travel Taskforce is essentially an advisory body of the government of the UK with the aim of identifying key elements to enable the safe and sustainable recovery of international travel and to introduce a COVID-19 testing system for travellers visiting the UK. 

As a cross-government response, the Global Travel Taskforce represents several departments such as Department for Transport and the NHS, as well as industry organizations and travel agencies. The body is chaired by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.


The Global Travel Taskforce and the UK traffic light system

Through the Global Travel Taskforce, the government will implement a traffic light system categorizing countries and their respective risks and restrictions. This will hopefully allow international travel to resume from 17 May 2021 at the earliest by removing the permission to travel form for UK residents.

This means travellers would no longer need a valid reason to travel out of the country.

The traffic light system assessment will be based on the following:

  • the percentage of their population that has been vaccinated
  • the rate of infection
  • the prevalence of variants of concern
  • the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing

To facilitate the safe return of residents from their travels, countries will be classified as follows:

  • Green: arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 of their arrival back into England. They will not need to quarantine on return providing they do not 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, and a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 with the option for Test to Release on day 5 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 PCR testing on day 2 and 8

All arrivals from amber and red countries are required to book a pre-departure, day 2 and day 8 test before travelling. Arrivals from red list countries are to secure their quarantine package prior to departure. Those arriving from amber and green countries are also required to book test packages before travelling from one of the government’s approved list of providers.