What is the green watchlist and which countries are on it?
The Balearics and Madeira join the green watchlist
The latest traffic light reshuffle on 24 June added Malta to the green list, in a much-needed boost for holidaymakers.
It also added a handful of islands and nations to the “green watchlist”, which will signal which destinations could soon move from green to amber.
The list is designed to give travellers more certainty.
Where did the idea come from?
Holidays abroad were given the go ahead from England from 17 May, under a traffic light system to classify each country or region as red, amber or green. This will depend on coronavirus infection rates, the presence of any “variants of concern” and the progress of the vaccination programme.
As well as the traffic light system, there will also be a “green watchlist”. Until 24 June, nothing was on the watchlist.
Which destinations are on the green list?
There are currently 27 destinations deemed safe enough to be on the green list:
Travellers returning to the UK from these countries won’t need to quarantine. However, they must provide a negative test result – be it rapid antigen, lateral flow or PCR – before departing for the UK, and take a PCR test within two days of arrival.
What is the green watchlist?
The traffic light system will categorise countries and regions in terms of whether travel will be permitted, as well as what restrictions will be in place. The lists will be updated every three weeks.
The green watchlist is an additional measure that the government will use as a way to identify the countries most at risk of moving from green to amber.
Countries on the watchlist will be kept under review and “respond to emerging evidence, with a particular focus on variants of concern”.
There are currently 16 territories on the watchlist: Madeira, the Balearic Islands, several UK Overseas Territories: (including Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands) and Caribbean Islands: (including Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados and Grenada).
Why is it needed?
The green watchlist system aims to avoid abrupt changes which last year resulted in travellers rushing back to the UK as quarantine was imposed on countries and regions with little notice. The government says the system is being implemented to “give passengers more certainty” and to “provide greater assurance for those who wish to travel abroad”.
However, the report states that “the government will not hesitate to act immediately should the data show that countries risk ratings have changed”.