Which countries could be added to the green and red lists next?

Aug 24, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

There are currently 36 countries and territories on the U.K. government’s coveted green list for travel without any quarantine mandated on your return to the U.K. As the European summer travel season concludes, hardly any of the usual popular destinations such as Spain and Greece are included on the current green list.

They — along with 138 other countries — were placed on the amber list.

There was some good news from 19 July, however: If you were fully vaccinated in the U.K., you don’t need to quarantine on your return from an amber list country. This essentially turns amber countries green if you are fully vaccinated. Additionally, as of 4 a.m. on 2 August, travellers who were fully vaccinated in the U.S. or EU can also skip quarantine in the U.K. if arriving from an amber country.

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But if you’re not fully vaccinated, you might be wondering which countries could become green during the next list update.


In This Post

When will the green list be updated?

The next review of the traffic light system is currently scheduled for Thursday, 26 August 2021, with any changes to the lists likely to take effect from 4 a.m. Monday, 30 August.

Related: Government scraps quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated amber arrivals from 19 July

What are the requirements to join the green list?

Cloth Halls and Mary’s Church at Historic Krakow Market Square in the Morning, Poland. (Photo by Jacek Sopotnicki / Getty Images)

The U.K. government has not published the official requirements needed to be added to the green or amber lists. This may be because several countries that have significantly lower new infection rates per capita than the United Kingdom; low or no rates of the highly infectious delta variant; and well-progressed vaccination rates have never been on the green list.

Poland, for example, has a low seven-day new infection rate of 6.17 cases per 100,000 people, versus the U.K.’s rate of 319.8 cases. The country has also fully vaccinated 48.6% of its population.

However, Poland remains on the amber list. This suggests there is no single benchmark for countries to be added to this list no matter how good a country’s numbers are.

Some destinations remain on the red and amber lists for more obvious reasons. There have been questions surrounding the accuracy of the data Turkey has reported on its COVID-19 infections rates, including suggestions they have reported lower than actual numbers to try and boost the tourist industry.

Turkey remains on the red list and is likely to stay there until the U.K. government is more comfortable with the accuracy of the reported numbers.

Which countries may be added next?

Based on the fact that several countries were added to the green list at the last review, there is a good chance some more countries could be added on 26 August.

Related: Everything you need to know about transiting through European airports during the pandemic

Travel analyst Paul Charles from The PC Agency has identified the following countries that he feels should already be added to the green list based on their pandemic statistics such as low new infection rates and high vaccination rates. Travellers should watch these destinations to see if they’re added to the green list during the next review:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Lithuania
  • Poland

Will any countries be added to the red list?

The PC Agency predicts Morocco may be moved to the red list, as well as a few Caribbean islands:

  • Dominica
  • Jamaica
  • St. Lucia

What about the United States?

(Photo by Teresa Barajas via Unsplash)

The United States is a huge tourism market for British travellers, especially over the summer months. With almost 50% of Americans already fully vaccinated, travel operators had hoped the U.S. would move from amber to green at the recent G7 summit in Cornwall, where President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had met in person to discuss this and had the opportunity to make a joint announcement.

Unfortunately, the G7 came and went with no announcement.

From 4 a.m. on 2 August, fully vaccinated Americans can enter the U.K. without the need to quarantine. Unfortunately, the U.S. is still barring British travellers from entering for nonessential reasons, regardless of their vaccination status.

Bottom line

Each update to the traffic light list has brought a mixture of excitement and disappointment.

Very low seven- and 14-day new infection rates per capita, successful vaccination rollouts and few delta variant cases would be logical criteria to make the green list. Still, destinations that meet all of these criteria remain frustratingly on the amber list.

For fully vaccinated travellers, the prospect of countries moving from amber to green is less relevant, as Brits no longer need to follow self-isolation rules from amber destinations.

If you’re gambling on a certain destination being added to the green list before you travel there this year, ensure you are aware of the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy, as travelling to a country against government advice may invalidate your travel insurance policy.

Featured photo by danilovi / Getty Images.

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