Green list to be published within ‘a couple of weeks’
Travellers will be asked to show their vaccination and testing status using the NHS app, the transport secretary has said.
Grant Shapps also said the government would release the much-anticipated list of possible holiday destinations, known as the ‘green list’, within a fortnight.
However, a government source later told the BBC the app, which is used to make appointments, would not be ready “imminently”.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told BBC Breakfast that “[The NHS’s digital division] … are working on making that operationally possible for May 17,” but a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said only that the app was “being considered as part of the digital route”.
On the green list, Shapps told Sky News: “I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.”
He added: “We do need to make sure that we do this very, very carefully … But, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll come back on and I’ll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system – and that green list in particular.”
On the green list would be “countries where you’ll be able to go to, without needing to quarantine on your return, you will still need to take a pre-departure test, and one test on your return,” he said.
Green arrivals will need to take a pre-departure test as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day two of their arrival back into England, but will not need to quarantine on return (unless they receive a positive result) or take any additional tests.
Asked how the lists would be decided, Shapps said: “There will be four factors that we will be looking at when we look at a country: we will be looking at their rates of vaccination; we will also want to look at the rates of coronavirus in that country; how many concerns there are about various mutations of the virus in that particular place; and how accurate we believe the reporting to be.”
He added: “In terms of vaccine certification, I can confirm we are working on an NHS application – actually, it will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on – to be able to show that you have had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.”
Later he told Times Radio that the public would have to “wait and see” which countries are on the list. “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time,” he said.