Holiday traffic light system: How does it work? Where can I go on holiday?

After months cooped up inside, Brits are desperate to feel the sand under their feet abroad. The government’s travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have thwarted all possibilities of a holiday so far this summer, but our luck might be about to change.

July and August are considered holiday season in the UK, with families slotting in a couple of weeks in the sun before the kids go back to school.

At present, the Government advice stands firmly against all but essential international travel.

However, Ministers are set to announce a new traffic light system on Monday, that could allow Brits to go abroad.

This news comes as the EU puts together a list of countries whose citizens are allowed to enter.

The traffic light system will mean UK nationals can travel to low-risk countries without needing to quarantine for two weeks when they return.

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The government seems to have moved away from an air bridge or travel corridor system with the introduction of this new system.

The traffic light aspect refers to classifying countries as safe or unsafe depending on its coronavirus cases.

Countries will be graded green, amber or red like traffic lights.

A list of quarantine-free countries is likely to be published on Wednesday, and restrictions could be lifted as soon as July 6.

Green countries are safer than the UK and amber countries are less safe than green countries.

This will be based on the UK’s two-week infection rate compared to the other country’s.

Right now, the UK’s two-week infection rate is around 27.3, compared to France’s 5.8, Greece’s 2.5, Spain’s 10.1, and Italy’s 6.3.

The Netherlands, Turkey, Croatia, Finland, Belgium, Germany, and Norway also have smaller infection rates than the UK at present and so would count as green or amber countries.

The Government is expected to announce the first air bridges, which are likely to be these ‘safe’ countries.

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If you travel to a red country, you will still need to isolate for a fortnight.
Red countries would currently include the likes of Portugal, Sweden and the USA.

Portugal was rumoured to have been taken off the potential airbridge countries at the last minute, with the infection rate picking up suddenly.

In the last two weeks, it has developed one of the worst infection rates in Europe– 43.2 cases per 100,000 people– and areas of Lisbon are going back into lockdown conditions.

Sweden is much worse than Portugal, with a two-week rate of 111.7 cars per 100,000.

The country took a herd immunity approach to the virus and it has backfired.

The USA has placed a travel ban on 26 European countries plus the UK, and the USA is unlikely to be in the list of countries in the EU’s list.

Therefore it’s probable that the USA would be considered a red country.

How to work out an infection rate

You can work out an infection rate yourself at home to find out where a particular destination would land on the scale.

A two-week infection rate means the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days up to a specific day.

The above stats are up until June 22 and will change as the cases change.

Once you understand this, you can understand the system and why red countries are unlikely tourist destinations for the time being.

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