UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to use a Downing Street briefing later today (5 April) to outline measures intended to kickstart international travel.
Speculation is rife that a country-based ‘traffic light system’ could determine testing and isolation requirements for arrivals into the UK.
It has been widely suggested in the national and international press that ‘green’, ‘red’ or ‘amber’ statuses would be assigned to countries based on their Covid-19 vaccination and infection rates.
Under current rules international travel is banned until 17 May at the earliest except under circumstances where there is a ‘reasonable excuse’, excluding holidays.
TWICE-WEEKLY TESTING IN ENGLAND
The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is due to report its findings on 12 April.
Currently, 39 countries are on the ‘red list’ that prohibit entry to the UK. This includes Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines, which will be added to the list at 4am on 9 April.
Separately, there have been suggestions that so-called ‘vaccine passports’ could be introduced to permit entry to entertainment venues in the UK as lockdown rules ease, although nothing has been confirmed.
While the Prime Minister has so far distanced himself from the term, he confirmed to Sky News at the weekend that there would be a ‘role’ for vaccination certification.
A cross-party group of more than 70 MPs – including more than 40 MPs from the Conservative Recovery Group – signed a pledge at the weekend opposing what they view as the ‘divisive and discriminatory use’ of the scheme.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn; Labour MPs Dawn Butler and Rebecca Long Bailey; former Director of Liberty Baroness Shami Chakrabarti are also among signatories to a campaign supported by Big Brother Watch and others.
Under the current roadmap, businesses in England such as bars, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and non-essential shops are due to reopen on 12 April.
Ministers today announced that everyone, including those without Covid-19 symptoms, will be eligible to take free rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) twice per week, effective 9 April.
“Around one in three people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms, and as we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.