A NEW traffic traffic light system for international travel was announced by Boris Johnson this week.

We know it's to try to stop the coronavirus circulating between countries, while still allowing some trips abroad.

But what does it actually mean for those of us hoping for a holiday outside the UK?

As it stands, foreign trips are banned until May 17 at the earliest under the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown.

At his latest Downing Street Covid briefing, Mr Johnson said on Monday (April 5): "Obviously we are hopeful that we can get going from May 17, we are hopeful..."

However he warned people to "be realistic" and said: "We're not there yet."

So how will the traffic light system work and should you delay booking a holiday?

1- How will the traffic light system work?

A traffic light failure is causing disruption Picture: Pixabay

A stock picture of a traffic light. Picture: Pixabay

The traffic light system will add green and amber categories of countries to the current red list.

Green: Places that are on this list will mean travellers won't have to quarantine or self-isolate when they return to the UK.

But, they must have three coronavirus tests - one no longer than 72 hours before they leave for Britain and two (one on the second and eighth day) after they're back.

Amber: Holidaymakers must self-isolate at home for ten days after entering the UK.

Like the green category, you must have the same three tests but people can pay extra to have their second test on day five, rather than day eight. This is expected to slash isolation time.

Red: Travellers must isolate on their return in an authorised hotel at their own cost, as the rules currently set out.

You must have three Covid tests - either a PCR or lateral flow - and your quarantine can't end early.

It is not yet clear what is required for countries to be placed on the amber list.

2- Can I book a holiday?

Enjoying beach holidays.

Enjoying beach holidays.

The Government is not encouraging people to book holidays yet.

It said: "For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer."

Boris Johnson warned in his briefing the Government does not want to see "the virus being reimported into this country", adding: "We're not there yet... as soon as we have solid information... we'll let you know where we are."

3- Is there still a chance international travel could be allowed by May?

The Government will review if international travel should be allowed from May 17 at the earliest, according to the roadmap out of lockdown document.

The document reads: "The Global Travel Taskforce will report on April 12 with recommendations aimed at facilitating a return to international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and Variants of Concern."

4- Are any countries on the green list?

It has not been confirmed any countries have been added to the green list.

The Government report said: "It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.

"These decisions will be driven by the data and evidence nearer the time, which we cannot predict now."

5- What countries are on the red list?

At the time of writing, the countries on the red list were:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

6- Will any other countries be added to the red list?

Yes, as of 4am on Friday (April 9) Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines will join the red list.