Boris Johnson is to outline plans for the easing of coronavirus restrictions on foreign travel from England, potentially opening the way for holidays abroad this summer.
The Prime Minister will announce details on Monday of a “traffic light” system for rating overseas destinations, lowering controls on journeys to those countries assessed as being at the lowest risk.
Officials stressed travel would not begin before May 17 at the earliest and that it was still too soon to predict which countries would be cleared.
The advice remains that people should wait for the full report of the Government’s global travel task force due on April 12 before booking a holiday.
It comes as many European countries are imposing new lockdown restrictions as a third wave of the pandemic spreads across the continent.
Under the traffic light system, assessments will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of a country’s population which has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.
Travellers arriving from countries rated “green” will not be required to isolate although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.
For those classed as “amber” or “red”, the restrictions will remain as they are with arrivals required to isolate or enter quarantine.
The industry body, Airlines UK, which has been calling for some type of traffic light system, said it was important that mass air travel was able to resume soon.
“There are tens of thousands of jobs dependent upon aviation and restarting travel, and the sector cannot survive another lost summer with little or no revenue,” said chief executive Tim Alderslade.
“We can do this proportionately and in a risk-based way, it’s not a question of opening up the border to every country out there.
“If there are concerns about variants restrictions will remain but where it is safe to do so we need to start the process of opening up.
“We cannot with a straight face talk about Global Britain without aviation.”