Heathrow Airport has put forward proposals for a four-tiered traffic light system to help start overseas travel for the summer holidays, according to reports.
The plans have reportedly been presented to the government’s Global Travel Task Force, which is considering suggestions on how to safely restart the industry during the coronavirus pandemic.
The group is expected to report next month on recommendations on how to bring back international travel as soon as possible while managing the risk of imported cases and variants of concern.
Under the current roadmap to ease the lockdown, the earliest date the British could go on vacation abroad would be May 17.
According to The telegraphHeathrow Airport recommended to the task force a four-tiered traffic light system, with an “amber” option of a personalized three-day quarantine and testing regime.
An orange alert would be triggered in the event of a “variant of concern” identified in a country and uncertainty as to the risk it represents for the deployment of the vaccine in the United Kingdom.
According to The telegraph.
The proposed system would have a “yellow list” – for which travel would involve tests and / or vaccination certificates but not quarantine – and a “green list”, which countries would have no travel restrictions attached to, reported the newspaper.
The plans would maintain the current ‘red list’ of countries, which prohibits travelers from high-risk countries from entering the UK, except UK and Irish nationals and people with residence rights – who face a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine – and some trades.
John Holland-Kaye, Managing Director of Heathrow, said: “The UK’s progress in the global vaccine race, coupled with advances in testing, means ministers no longer need to choose between public health and the economy – a risk-based approach to international travel will allow us to protect them both.
He added: “The restart of trade and travel to key markets like the United States after May 17 will be critical for the government to achieve its global ambitions in Britain and to help communities across the UK to to upgrade. “
The recommendations come as a scientist has warned that keeping borders open for international travel could risk reversing the vaccine’s progress.
Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling (Spi-M), which advises the government, said allowing overseas travel without effective testing and tracing in place could allow a vaccine-escaping variant to enter the UK.
Earlier this week, Boris Johnson said the Britons’ ‘natural thirst for travel’ would lead to a ‘miraculous change’ in the desire to vacation abroad, implying that summer vacations could still be envisaged – although he acknowledges that things “look difficult” in Europe where transmissions are increasing.
Additional reporting by the Press Association