Almost 60% of Britain would now be on the original 'green list'

Almost 60 per cent of Britain would now be on the original 'green list' permitting travellers to return from abroad without facing burdensome self-isolation requirements, official Covid figures revealed today.

Department of Health statistics showed 218 of 380 councils had a coronavirus infection rate below 20 cases per 100,000 in the week to April 27, the latest available.

Last summer ministers slapped arduous 14-day quarantine requirements on travellers arriving from countries with infection rates above that level. The self-isolation period for all foreign travel has now been shortened to ten days but holidays abroad are still banned until at least May 17.

Figures also showed nine in ten local authorities saw their outbreaks shrink in April. Only Selby in North Yorkshire now has an infection rate above 100 per 100,000. For comparison, there were 23 authorities above that level at the end of March.

Experts said all figures were looking 'very optimistic', suggesting Britain was 'over the worst' of the pandemic and would never again see the spiralling Covid deaths and hospitalisations as in the darkest days of January because of the mammoth vaccination roll-out. More than 50million jabs have now been dished out.

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Boris Johnson's ultra-cautious roadmap out of lockdown is set to kick-start foreign travel for people in England on May 17, with quarantine measures dumped for 'green' countries with both low infection rates and high vaccination levels.

But the list is expected to be small - and include few European destinations - amid fears from some ministers that travel could spark a third wave and import dangerous variants.

Covid infection rates across the UK in the week to April 27, the latest available. Department of Health statistics showed nine in ten councils saw their cases fall throughout April. The highest infection rate was in Selby, North Yorkshire

HOLIDAYS ABROAD 'SHOULD BE DISCOURAGED' UNTIL AUGUST, MPS WARN

Holidays abroad 'should be discouraged' until August because of the threat of a third wave, MPs say.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus, a cross-party group of MPs, said the travel ban should continue and only be reviewed every three months.

Their report states: 'The UK Government should discourage all international leisure travel to prevent the importation of new variants into the UK, in order to reduce the risk of a third wave and further lockdowns.

'This recommendation should be implemented immediately and reviewed on a quarterly basis.'

Boris Johnson's ultra-cautious roadmap out of lockdown is set to re-start foreign holidays on May 17, when curbs on travelling abroad will be lifted.

But ministers will be setting out a traffic light system for journeys, which will determine whether holidaymakers will have to quarantine on their return to the UK.

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Few countries are expected to make the 'green' list, with just Portugal in Europe, which would mean travellers would not have to quarantine.

Many are likely to be made 'orange', requiring travellers to isolate for 10 days upon return. 

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Department of Health infection rates are calculated based on the number of people that have tested positive in an area over the past seven days, divided by that area's population. It then gives a figure per 100,000 people to make everywhere comparable. 

There are almost a million Covid tests being carried out daily according to the Government's statistics but only a few thousand are currently picking

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