Saudi Arabia is a potential candidate to be placed on the UK’s quarantine-free ‘green list’, according to research by travel consultancy the PC Agency.
The traffic light system in place in the UK is being reviewed by the British government every three weeks.
The next review is expected on Thursday August 5, with any changes coming into place the following Monday.
The PC agency has has identified 12 countries that could go fully green thanks to COVID-19 rates below 30 cases per 100,000 residents and fairly robust vaccination rollouts: Austria, Bosnia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Saudi Arabia – together with Bhutan, French Polynesia, North Macedonia, and Norway - have also been identified as potential candidates for the green watchlist.
Holidaymakers from green countries who test negative do not need to quarantine or take any additional tests.
However the United Arab Emirates has not been earmarked for any change to travel restrictions. Since the UK introduced the red, amber and green light traffic travel system in January 2020, the UAE has remained on the red list, meaning visitors must pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days in England.
Meanwhile, a minister has defended the government’s pandemic travel rules amid suggestions a new amber watchlist could be created for countries – possibly including Italy and Spain – which would signal they were close to going red.
Matt Warman, minister for digital infrastructure, denied claims the guidelines were complicated – and defended the idea of moving away from “three cut-and-dried categories” for travel.
“Saying to people if a country is on a watch list there is a risk that it could, for instance, move from green to amber or amber to red seems to me to be providing people with really important information when they’re making significant financial decisions,” he said.