UK to ease holiday travel ban yet keeps most quarantines
LONDON (AP) — The British government on Friday announced a “first tentative step” toward resuming international travel, saying U.K. citizens will be able to travel to countries including Portugal, Iceland and Israel later this month without having to quarantine upon their return.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country's current blanket ban on overseas vacations will be replaced on May 17 by a traffic-light system classifying countries as low, medium or high risk.
The “green list” of 12 low-risk territories also includes Gibraltar, the Faroe Islands and the Falkland Islands — but not major vacation destinations for Britons such as France, Spain and Greece. Britons traveling to those countries, and many others including the United States and Canada, will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon their return.
Britons hoping for a summer vacation overseas do not have a lot to choose from. Several countries on the green list are closed to British visitors, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Others are little-visited, such as the remote Saint Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.
Shapps said the list would be reviewed regularly and would likely be expanded.
"We in this country have managed to construct a fortress against COVID. But the disease is still prevalent in other parts of the world, most notably at the moment in India.
“That’s why today’s announcement, removing the ‘stay in the U.K.’ restrictions from May 17, is necessarily cautious," he said.
All but essential travel from Britain remains barred to “red list” countries with severe outbreaks, including India and South Africa, and people returning from them face 10 days of mandatory quarantine in a supervised hotel. On Friday the government added Nepal, the Maldives and Turkey to that...