- Travel from the U.K. has been tightly restricted during the most severe months of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
- But from May 17, people in England will be allowed to visit certain countries, although some restrictions will still apply.
LONDON — British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed on Friday the "green list" of countries that residents of England will soon be allowed to visit without having to quarantine on their return.
Travel has been tightly restricted during the most severe months of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. But from May 17, people in England will be allowed to visit certain countries, although some restrictions will still apply.
Twelve countries will be on England's so-called "green list." Travelers to these countries will need to be tested pre-departure and on their return. But they will not need to quarantine on their return.
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The 12 countries are:
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
St. Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island
Outside those 12, other nations have been divided into an "amber" and a "red" list — with the latter requiring the most stringent of measures. Turkey was one notable name added to the red list on Friday.
Popular destinations for Brits, such as France and Spain, have not been placed on the green list at this stage. Shapps said at a press conference on Friday that green list countries can have their status withdrawn at any time.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will announce their own travel restrictions for their residents separately.
British travelers also face other countries' travel restrictions, such as those in Australia and the United States.
U.S. and European airlines and a host of travel industry companies, struggling from a slump in international travel, this week urged their governments to loosen travel rules that currently bar most Britons from entering, citing an increase in vaccination rates in their respective countries.
"We continue to encourage the U.S. to implement a reciprocal policy that allows travelers who are fully vaccinated to travel to the U.S. from nations with similarly successful vaccination programs," said Airlines for America, a trade group that represents most large U.S. airlines, including American, Delta and United.
Airline executives have cast doubt on a restoration of most U.S.-Europe travel this summer with restrictions still in place but have been more upbeat about the possibility of U.K.-U.S. travel reopening.
U.S. airlines in recent weeks have announced new service to some destinations that have opened or plan to, such as Greece, Iceland and Croatia.
— CNBC's Leslie Josephs contributed reporting from New York.