Only eight countries would make the green list for safe travel from May 17

Passengers at an airport - Jack Guez/ AFP via Getty Images

The USA, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland will be among only eight countries on the Government’s “green” list for safe travel from May 17, according to modelling for the industry.

The analysis, based on the Government’s four “risk” criteria for travel, suggests the only other countries will be Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand – both of which are currently closed to foreign arrivals.

The research, by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, confirms government indications that only a handful of “green” countries are likely to be approved for quarantine-free holidays when ministers plan to lift the ban on non-essential foreign travel on May 17.

Significantly, nearly all of Europe is either on the amber list, requiring home quarantine of 10 days, or even the red list, where arrivals have to hotel quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per person.

Countries that should be red based on the criteria are France, Turkey, Holland, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg – but are unlikely to be classed as such for political and economic reasons.

The research places the big tourist markets of Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus on amber due to their high Covid rates but it says they could still turn green by the Government’s review date of June 28.

“Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower-risk rating than the mainland and that could happen again this year,” said the report, which is circulating within industry circles.

Britain's favourite holiday destinations
Britain’s favourite holiday destinations

The research ranks 52 countries on each of the Government’s criteria of vaccination rates, covid prevalence, the extent of variants and their capacity for genome sequencing of the virus. It then synthesises that information into a single table.

Only five countries – the US, Israel, Gibraltar, UAE and Malta – pass the “green” benchmark of 30 per cent of their populations single vaccinated but this unfairly excludes countries like Australia and New Zealand with no community spread.

Only seven countries are green based on being below 50 cases per one million population: China, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Iceland and Gibraltar.

Turkey, Luxembourg, Finland, Belgium, France, Holland and South Africa come out worst for variant cases per million, with Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan, Bulgaria, Australia and New Zealand among the lowest. Those best for sequencing are Holland, Ireland and Luxembourg.

“The surest case for green must be Gibraltar. It has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated,” said the report. “Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”

After Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland come the USA although the report says the whole country might struggle to qualify unless its covid rates fall.

Source: Yahoo News