Only eight countries would make green list for safe travel from May 17, industry modelling suggests
Passengers at an airport - Jack Guez / AFP via Getty Images
According to the industry, the USA, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland will be on the government's “green” list of only eight countries for safe travel from May 17th.
Analysis, based on the government's four risk criteria for travel, suggests the only other countries will be Ireland, Malta, plus Australia and New Zealand - both of which are currently closed to foreign arrivals.
The study by Robert Boyle, former chief strategy officer at BA and its owner IAG, confirms the government's indications that only a handful of “green” countries will likely be allowed for quarantine-free holidays if ministers plan to lift the ban on non-essential factors May.
Significantly, almost all of Europe is either on the Amber List, which requires a 10-day home quarantine, or even on the Red List, where arrivals must be hotel quarantined 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 classified as such for political and economic reasons.
The study puts the major tourism markets of Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus on amber because of their high COVID rates, but says they could still turn green until the government's June 28 review deadline.
"Last year, the Spanish and Greek islands were given a lower risk than the mainland, and this could happen again this year," said the report, which was circulated among industry circles.
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The study ranks 52 countries based on government criteria for vaccination rates, Covid prevalence, extent of variants, and their ability to genome sequence the virus. This information is then summarized in a single table.
Only five countries - the US, Israel, Gibraltar, the United Arab Emirates and Malta - meet the “green” benchmark of 30 percent of their population who have been vaccinated once. However, this wrongly excludes countries such as Australia and New Zealand without community expansion.
Only seven countries are green because there are fewer than 50 cases per million people: China, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Iceland and Gibraltar.
Turkey, Luxembourg, Finland, Belgium, France, Holland and South Africa perform worst at variant cases per million, with Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan, Bulgaria, Australia and New Zealand among the lowest. The best for sequencing are Holland, Ireland, and Luxembourg.
“The safest case for green has to be Gibraltar. There are essentially no cases of any kind and the population is fully vaccinated, ”the report said. “Israel must be most likely. Here, too, it has vaccinated almost its entire population and the number of cases is even below the threshold of last year. "
After Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Ireland is the US, although the report says the whole country could struggle to qualify if its Covid rates don't fall.
“The UK could allow countries that are only 'amber' in terms of fall rate to be green if they have very high vaccination rates. This could also affect Malta and, in theory, the UAE as well. However, the latter's role as a transport hub where people from countries with worrying variants mingle may rule this out. "
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