6 European countries that could be next on the travel 'green list' in time for summer

·5-min read
Yahoo News UK has identified six nations that could make it onto the green list by summer. (Yahoo)
Yahoo News UK has identified six nations that could make it onto the green list by summer. (Yahoo)

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has hinted he wants to see more countries added to the 'green list' for foreign travel, opening up the prospect of more summer holidays abroad.

England, Scotland and Wales have all introduced a traffic light system for international travel.

Travellers returning from 'green' countries are not subject to any quarantine restrictions and are only required to take one post-arrival test.

Those arriving from 'red' countries must quarantine in an approved hotel at their own cost, while people coming in from 'amber' countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days.

The only countries on the green list are Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several remote islands that are British Overseas Territories.

Of the nations on the green list, Australia and New Zealand are not allowing visitors from the UK at the moment and many others are not realistic holiday destinations.

There are conflicting demands being placed on the government.

Watch: Transport secretary says roadmap is 'very much on track'

Some have called for the number of countries on the green list to be extended, arguing it would boost an ailing travel industry. This week, the EU recommended tourists should be allowed to visit the bloc, provided they are fully vaccinated.

In contrast, others have insisted that border restrictions be tightened further to ensure the virus, particularly the Indian variant, isn't brought back into the country from overseas in greater numbers.

The government has also been accused of sending confusing messages as to whether Brits should travel overseas or not.

Asked on Wednesday if he was pushing for the green list to be extended, Shapps said: “Of course. The reason for that is we have ended up getting way ahead in terms of our vaccination programme in this country and we are just having to wait for other countries to catch up with us.

“That’s going to gradually happen, obviously, you can see it’s happening, so that list should expand.”

Read more: UK 'could be at start of third COVID wave due to Indian variant'

The government uses a number of measures to decide which countries can be added to the list, including infection rates and the success of the vaccine rollout.

Yahoo News UK has analysed the infection and vaccination rates across the continent and identified six European nations that could fit the bill for the next green list announcement, which could be as early as the start of June.

Which European countries could be included?

Although the government hasn't officially released its metrics for deciding which countries belong on each list, they have said the three key elements are made up of infection numbers, vaccination rates and the presence of variants of concern.

Six countries that appear to be on track for inclusion are Italy, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Poland.

Italy has recently announced a plan to relax restrictions but still has a curfew in place. (Reuters)
Italy has recently announced a plan to relax restrictions but still has a curfew in place. (Reuters)

All of these countries have levels comparable to Portugal, which is currently reporting around 39.02 cases per million people and has given at least the first dose of the vaccine to just under a third of its population.

The UK is currently reporting just over 22 cases per million people and has given at least one dose of the vaccine to over 70% of its population.

The infection and vaccination figures from the six countries are:

  • Italy – 97.93 cases per million people; 32.94% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Hungary – 85.83 cases per million people; 49.99% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Finland – 36.53 cases per million people; 39.01% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Austria – 80.8 cases per million people; 34.03% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Poland – 63.87 cases per million people; 31.36% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Czech Republic – 90 cases per million people; 30.58% of the population offered at least one dose of the vaccine.

According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), cases are decreasing in all six countries.

The micro-states of Monaco and San Marino also have comparably low levels of infections and a high number of vaccines.

What is much harder to determine is how the Indian variant could impact any future decisions.

In Europe, the variant of concern has been identified most in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium.

Earlier this week, Italy approved a decree pushing back a nightly coronavirus curfew to 11pm, from 10pm, and easing other curbs in the regions where infections are low.

Prime minister Mario Draghi's government agreed the curfew would begin at midnight from 7 June and be abolished altogether from 21 June in those areas, a statement said, in line with a plan to gradually relax restrictions across the country.

Poland reopened shopping centres on 4 May, hotels from 8 May, while restaurants can serve food outdoors from 15 May. By the end of May, all children should be able to return to school, and events such as weddings with up to 50 people will be allowed.

It also brought forward the reopening of cinemas, theatres, concert halls and cultural institutions by one week, to 21 May.

Indoor dining, indoor sports facilities and swimming pools can reopen with capacity restrictions on 28 May.

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