This may be a holiday weekend, but very few people travel for pleasure. Overnight stays are still banned in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while holidays abroad are illegal anywhere in the UK.
Still, international leisure travel can be possible in six weeks. On Easter Monday, the prime minister should establish a framework for continuing travel abroad. So what can passengers expect?
These are the basic questions and answers.
What do the rules say at the moment?
Holidays outside the UK are currently illegal, with a £ 5,000 fine for even showing up at the airport and hoping to travel abroad.
The government’s recovery map gives hope that travelers from England could at least leave the country on May 17; Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may decide otherwise.
But whether any of us will want to go abroad for fun depends on the rules for returning. And it’s getting harder, not easier: next Friday Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines will join the government’s “red list” of nations from which arrivals must enter hotel quarantine for 11 nights at a cost of £ 1,750.
There will then be a total of 39 countries, including all of South America, much of southern and eastern Africa, and the UAE and the Gulf.
What is the prime minister likely to say?
Travel to and from the UK will depend on a “traffic light” system with different requirements, depending on the color. In fact, we already have it.
The red category requires 11 nights in hotel quarantine; for amber it is 10 days of self-isolation at home (although with the occasion of release earlier in England if you pay for another test after five days); and the only green country, which actually has no restrictions, is Ireland.
People are desperate to see loved ones, along with tourists and the tourism industry, hoping more countries will be moved to the green list. They also call for easing amber conditions, shortening or abolishing quarantine in exchange for additional testing.
Which nations will create good candidates for the “green” list?
- Infection rates are very low or at least in constant and permanent decline.
- The vaccination program works well, with a high income
- There are no significant “worrying variants”.
A number of countries have been mentioned, including Malta and Portugal in Europe; Israel; Gulf countries, especially the UAE and Bahrain; Maldives; and now. But with six weeks before any international leisure trip will be possible, it’s too early to tell.
If you go back six weeks to mid-February, there were still an average of 10,000 new cases and a few hundred deaths a day in the UK.
So, although I am convinced that on May 17 I will be able to travel somewhere abroad, it is still too early to say what the destination might be.
Will people who have both been vaccinated receive special treatment?
“Vaccine passports” (or, more accurately, coronavirus status certificates) are highly controversial. It is certainly the case that some foreign states will make it easier or even mandatory for British tourists to present evidence of both stings without formality.
There are also reasonable medical grounds for claiming that people who have had both stings are likely to pose a lower risk to the UK population than those who have not.
But for the government to say that vaccinated passengers will speed up the journey when they return to the UK would be a politically controversial move.
One rumor circulating in the tourism industry says the prime minister could announce easier travel for people who have had both stings just to boost vaccine intake – by encouraging especially younger people to get vaccinated to allow them to go abroad and return without undue hassle.
Will other countries want us?
Yes, and many of our favorite destinations fit the “JTR” pattern: “sting, test, or recovery”? Croatia has become the latest Mediterranean country to say it has opened its borders to tourists who can provide evidence of a vaccination certificate, recovery from infection or a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of arrival.
Thanks to the outstanding success of the introduction of the vaccine in the UK, British holidaymakers have gone from “sick men and women in Europe” to “golden girls and boys of summer” – and British travelers consider it a reduced risk compared to other locations.
Turkey has stated that it will welcome people from Great Britain, regardless of whether they had a sting or not.