- Beginning Monday, April 12, the UK will start the next phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions.
- At the same time, the UK government is trying to stop travelers from reimporting COVID-19 from popular holiday destinations.
- International travel, therefore, will remain shut down until at least May 17.
The UK Minister will be in a pub to celebrate as today he signed off on England entering the next phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions, which means non-essential retail such as shops and outdoor dining can reopen starting Monday, April 12, 2021.
However, a date has not yet been set for the country to reopen to international travel, so Brits will have to sit tight on making any summer holiday plans at least until May 17. With COVID variants making some strong footholds around the world, there are till 39 countries on the UK’s red list including the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, and South Africa. A surge of new infections has seen popular travel destinations, such as France and Spain, plunged into lockdown, and it is precisely a strict lockdown in tandem with a rapid vaccine plan that has suppressed the spread of COVID-19 recently. To date, close to half of the country’s population has received the vaccination.
PM Johnson said: “We’re hopeful that we can get going from May 17. We’re hopeful, but I do not wish to give hostages to fortune or to underestimate the difficulties that we’re seeing in some of the destination countries that people might want to go to. We don’t want to see the virus being reimported into this country from abroad. Plainly, there is a surge in other parts of the world, and we have to be mindful of that.”
Currently, travelers coming to the UK from non-red list countries are required to take a pre-flight COVID test and complete 10 days of home isolation (including 2 tests on days 2 and 8 after arrival). Under a new scheme, travelers returning from “green” countries will be required to undergo testing before departure and upon return with no need to quarantine. Testing requirements for “amber” countries will remain the same, while “red” countries will be no-go zones.
Dr. Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, told ABC: “If you do go to France or Spain or wherever it happens to be, there will be people from other countries holidaying there too. And it may be that their countries are at higher risk and have higher case rates and so on. That wouldn’t necessarily be picked up in the UK dashboards, because they’re only focusing on the country you’re travelling to. So this is partly how the virus went around the world in the first place.”