Under England’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown, the earliest international travel can resume without restrictions is May 17. But new plans proposed by the Government could see countries graded on their coronavirus infection rates and vaccination figures.
The move would see countries graded as either green, amber or red, depending on how well they are coping with COVID-19.
Countries like the US and Israel, who have had success rolling out coronavirus vaccines, are tipped to be top of the list for international travel allowances.
But European countries will likely be graded ‘red’ due to the third wave of cases surging across the continent and a sluggish vaccine rollout.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the measures on Easter Monday, following a review from the Global Travel Taskforce.
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A Government source told The Times ministers believe travel abroad will be “severely suppressed” for another year at least.
They added: “Holidays won’t be as we know them for the foreseeable future.”
The Prime Minister has already shared coronavirus vaccine certificates will “definitely” play a role in allowing international travel to go ahead.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said he felt the May 17 date for reopening international travel was over-optimistic, and hopes it will “be pushed back”.
John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, has thrown his support behind allowing travel to highly-vaccinated countries first.
He told the BBC: “If you look at Israel – very low Covid levels, very high vaccination levels – they should be one of the first to be opened up to international travel.
“Then, of course, the United States, a massive market for the UK — 20 percent of our passengers are going to and from the US.
“They have high vaccination levels and low Covid levels. They should be at the front of the queue.”
In the US, 97,593,290 people have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, and in Israel 4,785,534 people have been fully vaccinated, equal to 52.86 percent of the population.
Germany, which has administered the most coronavirus vaccine doses out of the EU’s 27 members, has managed 9,620,262 first doses and 4,152,394 second jabs.
The UK has administered 35,660,902 doses, of which 31,147,444 are first and 4,513,458 are second.
Yesterday saw another 4,479 cases and 51 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
In total, the UK has recorded 4,350,266 cases and 126,764 deaths.