‘Unfair’ travel traffic light system should be scrapped, says former head of vaccine taskforce

The current traffic light system for international travel is too complicated and “unfair”, according to the former head of the UK vaccine taskforce.

Clive Dix, who led the taskforce from January to April this year, told theTelegraph that, given the high levels of vaccination in the UK, a simpler system should be rolled out.

He said: “The current system probably means people who are slightly poorer in society struggle to be able to do any travel abroad and I think that’s unfair.”

Rather than the four categories we have at the moment – green, green watchlist, amber and red – Mr Dix would prefer to see a single list of countries of concern requiring quarantine for returning travellers.

He advocates a single test upon return for arrivals from all other countries.

“It’s simple and it’s not too onerous. It allows for people to have more freedom, basically,” he said.

Travellers returning from green list countries, as well as fully vaccinated passengers coming from amber list countries, must currently pay for a PCR test on day 2, while those arriving from amber countries who have not been fully vaccinated must pay for tests on days 2 and 8, plus quarantine for 10 days.

Dix argues that high levels of vaccination in the UK and in many destinations make a rethink advisable: “I think it should be very simple. I think there’s only a few countries now that have a very low level of vaccines and aren’t being well surveyed, so we don’t really know what the viral variants are there.

“But the rest of them, we’re pretty sure what’s there. And I think there’s no difference between moving around there and us moving around within the UK.”

He added that the known variants of concern – the Beta and Delta variants – are already established in the UK, and that cases are now dropping.

Were such a new system to be implemented, however, Dix says it’s important that monitoring continue for a possible “breakthrough” variant of concern.

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