What is the green watchlist and which countries are on it?

Anguilla, Barbados and Croatia are all on the UK’s green watchlist

Travel Desk
Tuesday 24 August 2021 12:25
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Some travel green list countries could go amber warns Shapps

The latest travel traffic light reshuffle on 4 August saw seven countries and territories move to the green list: Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The total green list now stands at 36 destinations, but 16 of these are also on the “green watchlist” - an additional rating that signals which places could soon move from green to amber.

Where did the idea come from?

Holidays abroad were given the go ahead from the UK from 17 May, under a traffic light system that classifies each country or region as red, amber or green. This is dependent on coronavirus infection rates, the presence of any “variants of concern” and the progress of the vaccination programme in that country.

As well as the traffic light system, there is also a “green watchlist” to flag up countries where figures may be on the borderline of requiring a move to the amber list.

Which destinations are on the green list?

There are currently 36 countries or territories rated green, but only 20 of these are deemed safe enough to be on the true green list, rather than the green watchlist:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Latvia
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

Travellers returning to the UK from these countries don’t need to quarantine. However, they must complete a Passenger Locator Form and provide a negative test result – be it rapid antigen, lateral flow or PCR – before departing for the UK, as well as taking a PCR test within two days of arrival.

You do not need to quarantine unless the test results are positive.

What is the green watchlist?

The green watchlist is an additional measure that the government uses as a way of identifying the countries most at risk of moving from green to amber.

Countries on the watchlist are kept under review and the Department for Transport says it will “respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on variants of concern”.

As of 4am on Sunday 8 August, there are 16 territories on the green watchlist:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Madeira
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

The next review of travel traffic light lists is expected to be announced on 25 or 26 August, with the rules coming into effect the following week.

Why is it needed?

The green watchlist system aims to avoid abrupt changes, which last year resulted in travellers rushing back to the UK as quarantine was imposed on countries and regions at short notice.

The government says the system is being implemented to “give passengers more certainty” and to “provide greater assurance for those who wish to travel abroad”.

However, countries can still move quickly from one list to another: the report states that “the government will not hesitate to act immediately should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed”.

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