(CMR) The United Kingdom has introduced a new traffic light system (RAG) that allows UK travelers to access travel abroad with various criteria depending on the categorization of perceived COVID-19 danger. The new measures will be available as of May 17 when leisure travel becomes available in keeping with Boris Johnson's “road map” for easing restrictions there.
Cayman along with the Caribbean has been listed as an amber country meaning that UK travelers would have to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in the UK at a location of their choice. Travelers can pay to be released via the ‘test to release' option of the program.
At a press conference this morning, UK Transport Secretary Grand Shapps shared that more countries are not yet green-lighted because of their lack of vaccinations. They noted that:
“The reason there aren’t more places on the list is there aren’t more places that are in the fortunate position that the United Kingdom has got itself in. “It is simply that the rest of the world needs a bit of time to catch up with our more fortunate vaccine position before we’ll be able to open up travel to those locations.”
Red countries should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances.
The self-isolation period for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers is the same. If, however, you travel via a red-rated country you will have to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel. In the UK there remains the option to pay for a test-to-release scheme on day 5. A negative result ends self-isolation early.
Border Force director general Paul Lincoln warned that the UK is not back to normality yet and that travelers can expect longer wait times by border re-entry points. The efficiency of the lighting system will be reviewed every three weeks with countries being re-evaluated.
HE the Governor issued a statement earlier today that reads in full:
The UK Transport Minister, Grant Shapps has today announced a gradual re-opening of international travel to and from England from 17 May. Included in the announcement is information on the Government’s new traffic light system which assesses countries as red, amber and green (RAG) for inbound travel. This rating determines what inbound travellers must do on arrival in the UK, linked to the COVID situation in the country from which they are travelling, vaccination rates and availability of genomic sequencing.
My office fed data related to Cayman’s Covid situation and vaccination rates into the Department of Transport and that informed the central UK Government RAG rating decision. Cayman, and indeed the whole of the Caribbean have been placed on the UK’s Amber list.
Although this may come as disappointing news to some, this is the first iteration of the red, amber and green lists and they will be reviewed every three weeks. The self-isolation period from 17 May remains the same as faced by travellers today – there is no change, just a new name for the rating system.
Given Cayman’s excellent response to the Covid-19 crisis, I am hopeful that Cayman will move onto the green list at the review point. My office will remain in close contact with the UK as the list evolves.
It is also worth noting that the UK’s 10-day self-isolation period is shorter than Cayman’s mandated quarantine period for non-vaccinated travellers. Furthermore, in the UK there remains the option to pay for a test-to-release scheme on day 5. A negative result ends self-isolation early.
The UK, like Cayman remains vigilant of their borders in the fight against Covid-19. As a result, there are only a small number of countries on the green list, including places like Israel and Gibraltar where there are very high vaccination rates.