Health secretary Matt Hancock has played down any immediate or significant expansion of the UK government’s green list while insisting ministers have been "crystal clear" on amber list travel.
Speaking at the government’s latest Covid briefing on Wednesday (19 May), Hancock was reticent on whether the UK would reciprocate EU proposals that would more broadly reopen the continent to Brits.
The EU is proposing to reopen its borders to all visitors fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with a jab approved by the European Medicines Agency.
It will also draw up a "white list" of countries from which people can travel to the EU even if they are not fully vaccinated; the effective "safe list" is expected to be based on countries’ current rate of Covid infection.
Countries with an incidence of Covid infection of 75 cases per 100,000 or less are expected to qualify for the green list, although the union said it would also take account of infection trends in its decision-making.
Member states will also be free to "take into account" restrictions placed on their citizens when travelling to third countries, such as the UK; at present, all EU arrivals in the UK – with the exception of those travelling from Portugal – would have to quarantine for 10 days and take two PCR tests following their arrival.