International leisure travel may resume from the UK on 17 May, the government has said.
But strict rules on returning to the UK will be enforced – based on a “traffic light” system that assigns red, amber or green to every overseas country. The main concern is that variants of concern could be imported and ultimately undermine the UK’s vaccination programme.
The Independent has canvassed opinions in the travel industry and researched the data on which the government will decide. These are the key questions on what we know – and don’t know – so far.
What are the current rules?
At present holidays and family visits abroad are illegal, under legislation to reduce number of people coming into the UK. Around 20,000 travellers are arriving in the UK from abroad each day, not counting hauliers.
A de facto traffic light system already exists for arrivals to the UK.
The only foreign country with “green” status is Ireland. Neither tests nor quarantine apply for arrivals to the UK from the Republic.
From all other nations, a negative Covid test is required before departure to the UK.
At the high-risk end of the traffic light spectrum, countries perceived as presenting special danger are on the UK’s red list…