British holidaymakers have been given the go ahead for international travel to Portugal, Israel and some Greek and Spanish islands ahead of government plans to unveil a travel green list later this week.
The Foreign Office this afternoon dropped its advice against non-essential foreign travel to Portugal and the Greek Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.
It also declared that the Canary Islands and Israel are both safe, stating that it “no longer advises against all but essential travel” to the two destinations, the Telegraph first reported.
A ban on international travel to mainland Greece and Spain remains in place.
It comes as ministers prepare to reveal the government’s travel green list later this week which will outline the handful of countries people from the UK will be able to travel to over the coming weeks.
People travelling to the UK from countries on the green list will not need to isolate for 14 days upon their return.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the approach will be cautious to avoid “an influx of disease”.
The Department for Transport (DfT) will unveil the list as part of a new traffic light system that will replace the current ban on all non-essential international travel that is due to expire on 17 May.
Graeme Buck, director at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), said the list has not yet been finalised but that ministers had agreed the general principles for classifying countries within the traffic light system.
It is widely expected that the green list will include no more than a dozen countries, with several papers speculating that Malta, Gibraltar and France could be added by the end of June.
However, trade secretary Liz Truss this morning urged holidaymakers to wait for government announcements before booking holidays abroad this summer.
“The really important thing is we don’t move too fast and jeopardise the progress we have made, so people will have to wait a bit longer to be able to hear the news on what is happening on the travel front,” she told Sky News.
The PM has appointed a travel taskforce to oversee potential measures to aid the return of international travel, including vaccine passports.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has previously said the NHS app, which is currently used to book medical appointments and order repeat prescriptions, will display Covid vaccine certifications and proof of a recent negative Covid test.
However Downing Street admitted this morning that the NHS app may not be ready to be used as a vaccine passport when international travel resumes on 17 May, adding that “another approach” may be needed.
The PM’s official spokesperson insisted the government would pursue “other routes to achieving the same end goal”.
“We are working on the app at the moment, at pace, to have it ready and we will be able to confirm ahead of the 17 May at the earliest what approaches we will be using,” they added.