Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps dropped the government’s advice not to book vacations and travel, saying there was “tentative progress.”
Mr Shapps confirmed that the government is working on a system of “traffic lights” to classify countries to allow overseas travel to restart. He stressed that May 17 would be the “first” person who could be allowed to travel.
However, the government has come under criticism from travel agencies, with vacationers returning from low-risk destinations having to take an “expensive and unnecessary” coronavirus test.
Mr Shapps told Sky News: “My advice today would be to move from where we were before. I’m not telling people they shouldn’t be booking a summer vacation and this is the first time I can tell in many months.
“But I think everyone is doing it understands that there are risks with the coronavirus and of course, in fact, I think people would like to know which countries are going to be in the different traffic light systems and people will mainly seek to book in a green country. . So there are only two or three weeks left before we publish this list itself.
“But yes, interim progress. For the first time, people may start to think about visiting loved ones abroad or perhaps a summer vacation. But we are doing it very cautiously because we do not want to see any return of the coronavirus in this country.
The government is also working with the travel industry and private testing providers to reduce the cost of overseas travel after complaints about the price of testing kits.
According to the rules, those traveling from green countries will not need to self-isolate but will have to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on the second day of their arrival in the UK.
On Amber, travelers will self-isolate for 10 days, unless they receive a negative result from a test performed at least five days after arrival. They will need to take a pre-departure test and PCR tests on the second and eighth day of arrival in the UK.
According to the Red category, people will have to spend 11 days in a quarantine hotel. They will need to take a pre-departure test and PCR tests on the second and eighth day of arrival in the UK.
The categories will be “kept under review” with a “particular emphasis on variants of concern,” the Department of Transportation said.
They are due to be “officially reviewed” on June 28, and further reviews will take place no later than July 31 and October 1.
A “Green Watchlist” will be introduced to identify the countries most at risk of going from “green” to “orange”.