Model suggests ‘green light’ travel list could include only eight countries

While the government works out how to categorise countries for a traffic light system, a new model predicts only eight countries will be on the ‘green’ list

Sean Russell@SAntoniRussell
Sunday 18 April 2021 10:37
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New analysis of destinations that might be considered safe countries when England’s foreign travel ban is eased after lockdown suggests there could be as few as eight countries on the so-called ‘green list’.

Boris Johnson’s current plan identifies 17 May as the earliest possible date for foreign travel to resume, under a “traffic light” system that restricts some nations where coronavirus is prevalent. Green countries would be free to visit, amber would require isolation on return, and red would mean travel is banned.

While the Global Travel Taskforce looks into how to categorise countries ahead of May, analysis carried out by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, has suggested that only eight countries could be considered “green” based on vaccination rates, Covid prevalence, extent of variants and capacity of genome sequencing of the virus.

The eight countries are: United States, Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Australia and New Zealand.

While it is unlikely New Zealand or Australia will permit visitors from May, Gibraltar and Israel are perhaps the most likely to resume travel quickly, according to Boyle.

His report said: “The surest case for green must be Gibraltar. It has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated.

“Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”

Gibraltar, with its small population, has managed to vaccinate all of its adult residents, while Israel has given at least one dose to over 60 per cent of its population.

Much of Europe, according to this analysis, will be amber, requiring isolation on return, however some exceptions may be made due to political and economic reasons.

“Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year,” the report said.

However, Britons will have to wait until the government release the official list which is expected to be revealed in early May.

A government statement says: “It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer, and the government continues to consider a range of factors to inform the restrictions placed on them.

“We will set out by early May which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can resume from 17 May 2021.”

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