BRITS will need THREE Covid tests to go on summer holidays this year as families face paying £600 extra for a trip abroad.
Even travelling to ‘green’ countries will require at least three tests – one taken on departure and two on return to the UK, it’s understood.
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This comes ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech, set to reveal how international travel will work this year.
Boris Johnson is set to unveil a traffic light system for overseas holidays based on other countries’ rates of the bug and their vaccination levels.
Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk, Downing Street said in a statement late Saturday, with the government to provide more details this afternoon.
But all destinations will require testing – in order to track variants and stop them from entering Britain.
For those planning to go abroad, arranging pre-departure tests could add at least £400 to the cost of a holiday abroad for a family of four.
While the second post-arrival test could put on a further £200.
Brits will be able to fly to “green” countries with low Covid rates and strong vaccine rollouts.
Those who are not fully vaccinated that head to amber or red countries will have to self-isolate or quarantine afterwards – with at home or in a hotel, depending on the country.
It comes as:
But vaccinated travellers who head to amber countries, likely to be holiday destinations like Spain and Greece, may be able to skip quarantine.
Currently people arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
On arrival, destinations could also demand pre-holiday tests to be shown at the border for those not fully vaccinated, which could add potentially hundreds more pounds to the cost of a trip.
On the way home, another test would be taken 72 hours before boarding UK-bound flights, plus another two days after arriving, to make sure travellers have not picked up a mutated Covid strain.
Travel traffic light system
GREEN: Anyone returning from these countries must take a pre-flight lateral flow test at their own cost, then take a “sequencing test” within days of landing to check for new strains;
AMBER: Like green but those entering the UK must isolate at home for ten days after arrival. They can get out after five days with a negative test paid for privately;
RED: Arrivals must isolate on their return in an authorised hotel at their own cost — as they do currently.
More travel options could be potentially delayed until July or August.
It has been reported there could be as few as 12 countries on the government “green list” for quarantine-free travel initially.
The move, to be unveiled by Boris Johnson, could see Bahrain, with its rapid vaccine rollout, along with Dubai and the US as the top destination wish lists.
Caribbean islands including Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, which already have advanced vaccination programmes, are also being tipped as among the first to reopen.
But nations with high virus cases and slow jab rollouts will require more quarantining.
FLY AND DRY
That could deter millions of Brits from heading to Spain’s Benidorm and other European favourites such as France and Greece.
Meanwhile, a single-shot Covid jab that could save foreign holidays for youngsters was last night hailed as “a game changer” by travel bosses.
The one-dose Janssen jab is set to be available by July for 18 to 30-year-olds — so they could be off to party islands like Ibiza within months.
Andrew Flintham, managing director for Tui UK and Ireland, welcomed the introduction of a “traffic light” system for foreign travel.
He told BBC Breakfast: “So we are looking for some really clear guidelines so we welcome the traffic light system. We think it will give us some clear rules to work with and also it will make it obvious what data is driving what decisions.”
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He admitted many are “struggling with their rates at the moment”, but said: “We are still a significant period away from the summer season properly opening up. We are probably 11 weeks away.
“The world has been changing on a weekly basis, never mind an 11-weekly basis.”