Brits have been warned there is a “substantial risk” any foreign holiday plans they make this summer will have to change.
Top government advisor Prof Peter Horby said just because there will be a traffic light system, it doesn’t guarantee trips can go ahead as normal.
And the chair of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said he is not booking a trip abroad.
Prof Horby told Times Radio: “Personally I’ve not booked a holiday overseas.
“Because I think, number one, there’s a risk that whatever I book won’t turn out to be feasible.
“Number two is I don’t want to get stuck overseas somewhere or have to quarantine for two weeks when I come back when the situation changes.
“The situation in the UK is becoming clear and is stabilising but people have to remember that’s not the case elsewhere.
“The pandemic is still raging globally. And many countries in Europe even are still seeing racing case numbers or having to reintroduce lockdowns.
“So it’s very hard to predict what will happen in the next couple of months and so people have to really take on board that any plans they make now, they are at substantial risk of having to change.”
Foreign holidays and cruises will resume from May 17 at the earliest under the government’s traffic light system
The government will set out “by early May” the actual date when international travel can resume and £5,000 fines are dropped.
Ministers will also set out before May 17 which countries will be on which lists out of red, amber and green.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – who was caught by his own travel corridor system last year – has said he will hold off on booking his own family break until that point.
But even after May 17, countries will be able to move from the green to the amber list at short notice. A green ‘watchlist’ will attempt to flag up countries in danger of turning amber – but there are no guarantees.
The Global Travel Taskforce review warns: “People are of course free to book holidays abroad in the summer.
“But for the moment the government must advise that until the picture is clearer, there is a continuing risk of disappointment.”
Under the traffic light system, arrivals from green countries will not have to quarantine on return to the UK, unless they test positive or show symptoms. But they must take two tests: a pre-departure test before setting off back to the UK, then a second gold-standard PCR test on or before day 2 after they arrive home.
Arrivals from amber countries will need to quarantine for 10 days, but they can do this at their home. They must take three tests – pre-departure, and then PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 after they arrive home. They can choose to pay for a fourth test on day 5, and if it comes back negative they can leave quarantine early. This is called Test to Release.
Arrivals from red countries must quarantine for 10 days in a hotel at £1,750 a head. They must also take three tests – the same as the amber group – and cannot pay for Test to Release.