Traffic light system: points to consider


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We are now all familiar with the Government's "traffic light system" which set out the rules regarding the testing and quarantining which apply to countries depending on whether they are classified as "red", "amber" or "green".

However, do consider the following:

The traffic light status of the country you are planning to visit may change at short notice.

The Government plans to make changes to the green list every three weeks but has warned that destinations on the green or amber list could move to red at any time.

From 15 July a new category of "amber plus" was created, and those travelling from countries on this list will need to quarantine for up to 10 days even if they have received both vaccines. Only France is on this list at the moment, although it is rumoured that Greece and Spain may be added to the list. 

If a country is in danger of moving to amber, it will be placed on the Government's "green watchlist". The countries on this list may change their traffic light status at any time rather than at the Government's three week review - so there is an increased risk of booking holidays to countries on this list.

The rules relating to which countries the Foreign and Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against travel to are not related to the traffic light system, so for example a country which is on the Government's amber list may at the same time be on the list of countries which the FCDO advises against "all but essential travel", in which case, your travel insurance may not cover you for travel to that country.

When arranging a holiday, it is worth considering booking with a provider which has good flexible booking policies and will commit to refunds if a country's traffic light status changes.

It is also important to check what is covered by your travel insurance. Policy wordings are not always clear with regard to what Covid cover is provided, and if you are unsure what is covered then you should ask your insurer to clarify this, and if necessary ask them to provide confirmation of what is covered in writing.

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