Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Add Poland to the green list for international travel

COVID-19 cases in Poland are lower than for many other countries, but people arriving in England from Poland still have to go for quarantine for 10 days. Please move Poland on green list

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Government responded

This response was given on 28 July 2021

Ministerial decisions on country allocations to the traffic light system are informed by Joint Biosecurity Centre risk assessments and wider public health factors, and are reviewed every three weeks.

Read the response in full

On 17 May 2021, the Government introduced the traffic light system to provide a framework for a safe and sustainable return to international travel. The traffic light system categorises countries and territories based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on country allocation to the traffic light system and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.

Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country and territory include:

• genomic surveillance capability

• COVID-19 transmission risk

• Variant of Concern transmission risk

As a precautionary approach, countries and territories are assumed to be amber unless there is specific evidence to suggest they are:

• green – presenting (with confidence) a low public health risk to the UK from all COVID-19 strains

• red – presenting a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern (VOC), known high-risk variants under investigation (VUI) or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of COVID-19

A summary of the JBC methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions. The summary of the JBC methodology is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system and the data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/data-informing-international-travel-risk-assessments.

Country allocations to the traffic light system are reviewed every three weeks, unless concerning evidence means we need to act faster to protect public health. Poland is currently on the amber list.

Since Monday 19 July, passengers returning to England from amber list countries (not including France) who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, no longer need to quarantine. Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel and continue to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test and day 2 test. Children under the age of 18 returning to England from amber list countries are also exempt from quarantine rules. The guidance that people should not travel to amber countries has also been removed.

The government is taking a phased approach to amending requirements and is already exploring plans to remove quarantine for vaccinated non-UK residents arriving from amber countries later this summer where it is safe to do so. In the meantime, the Test to Release scheme remains an option for travelers returning from amber countries to shorten their quarantine period, and being released early if they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

Department for Transport

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Other parliamentary business

Transport Committee ask for clarification of traffic light system for international travel

In June the House of Commons Transport Committee wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to clarify how decisions are made regarding the Government's traffic light system for international travel.

Read the Transport Committee's letter to the Prime Minister:
https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/6242/documents/69070/default/

The Committee's letter of 10 June 2021 asks the Government to clarify the following:

  • How it makes decisions on the categorisation of countries
  • If there will there be a watchlist introduced to monitor if "green" countries are likely to turn "amber"
  • If it will commit to publishing the assessment of coronavirus risk for each country
  • If it will provide any public health milestones which would mean some requirements for international travel will be dropped

The Committee's letter follows an April 2021 report on the safe return of international travel, which concluded that the Global Travel Taskforce Report contained insufficient detail to allow businesses and travellers to prepare for the planned safe restart of international travel.

The Committee's report recommended that the Department for Transport provide more clarity on international travel by explaining the criteria and mechanism by which countries will move between the risk categories and by working bilaterally with partner countries to agree mutual recognition of travel health certification.

Read the Transport Committee's report, 'Safe return of international travel?':
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmtrans/1341/134102.htm

Find out more about the Committee's inquiry on Coronavirus: implications for transport on the Committee's website: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/221/coronavirus-implications-for-transport/

What is the Transport Committee

The Transport Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that looks at and questions how the Government Department for Transport:
 
- is run
- spends money
- decides on its policies

It is independent of the Government.

You can find out more about the Committee on its website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/153/transport-committee/

You can follow the Committee on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CommonsTrans

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c&feature=youtu.be

Find out about how to get involved in your UK Parliament: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/

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