UK reveals new green list for holidaymakers

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Written By Charlotte Miller

Holidaymakers desperate to get away for their summer break have been hit with a new set of rules regarding their safety against Covid-19 infection – but it’s not all doom and gloom.

With new strains of the virus appearing, travellers have to be made aware of changing circumstances when flying back to UK soil.

The new ‘safe destination’ Green List seems to be ever-changing. Added to that, the more uncertain Green Watchlist is giving travellers the jitters. However there’s some good news for those wanting to travel back from the Amber destinations, which are considered more infectious.

The advice given is to check out the latest traveller updates without hesitation if they are worried.

As of July 19 the new Green List of countries looks like this: Australia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Malta, Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Those on the Green Watchlist include: Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Grenada, Israel, Madeira, Montserrat, New Zealand, Pitcairn Islands, Taiwan, Turks and Caicos Islands. 

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What is the difference between the Green List and the Green Watchlist?

On June 30, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that all countries and territories on the UK’s Green List would be held in what has been called a Green Watchlist until the most recent infection rates in those countries have been analysed.

This measure is causing some panic among travellers, because areas in the Green Watchlist can change status within a very short time period. They could go to amber, could go to red, could go to ‘fully’ green.

Fortunately the rules on arrival to the UK for Green and Amber travellers are ‘largely’ the same in that neither will have to quarantine providing tests come up negative. It is compulsory to take a Covid test before embarking and one when landing in the UK (the arrival test, called a Day 2 needs to be booked and paid for BEFORE boarding to fly home). These test can be ordered from registered suppliers such as Medicspot, Expert Medicals and many more. Neither category need to quarantine, however, those coming from Amber destinations will have to book and pay for an ADDITIONAL test before flying back which must be carried out on Day 8 of having arrived home. 

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If the country I have come from suddenly downgrades to amber, what happens on my arrival in the UK?

Areas on the Green List and Green Watchlist have the same rules if fully vaccinated. These include taking a Covid test before travelling back to the UK and booking and paying for a Day 2 Covid test. As mentioned above, if the country you visited should suddenly go amber, a Day 8 test will need to be booked and paid for. Those from both Green and Amber countries will be required to take a passenger locator form. You will not have to quarantine unless the tests prove positive.

With both lists you must declare that you have been fully UK vaccinated on your passenger locator form, or are taking part or have taken part in an approved UK COVID-19 vaccine clinical vaccine trial, or that you are under 18 and resident in the UK.

All these rules are UK wide, however the rest of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) may have minor differences, so check. These latest rulings are extremely fluid and can change from day to day. Take the Balearic Islands for instance, which include popular holiday destinations Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca, which have been moved to the Amber List after Covid cases tripled in Spain in just two weeks to 368 per 100,000 people.

Advice before travelling abroad

Before you travel abroad. Check the rules for the country you’re going to visit; find out what needs to be done on your return.

Book any Covid tests or quarantine hotel packages you need for your return. When you arrive back in the UK make sure you adhere to what has been requested.