The success of the UK vaccination program means the number of countries on the “green list” of travel could more than double without endangering public health.
A study conducted by Oxera and Edge Health for Manchester Airports Group shows that passengers could travel to more than 130 countries such as Spain, the US and Dubai if the fall rates this summer are similar to last year.
The study examines the risk of new infections starting in July and August 2020 when the travel corridor system allowed people to visit countries where rates were below a certain threshold.
Modeling by Oxera and Edge Health shows that because of the extent of the vaccination, travelers from the UK can now visit overseas destinations with virus prevalence rates three times higher than in 2020 without increasing the risk or putting pressure on the NHS.
This is because vaccinations increase immunity in the population, drastically reduce serious illnesses, and also result in a lower rate of transmission.
Michele Granatstein, Partner at Oxera and Head of Aviation Practice, said: “The successful launch of the UK vaccination program with 32 million first-dose people is critical to the safe reopening of air travel.
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“The role of vaccines in significantly reducing not only the number of hospital stays and Covid-19 deaths but also the transmission rates of the virus should ensure that safe travel to international destinations is within reach.
“Given these promising results, the proposed countries on the Green List could safely be expanded this summer.”
Charlie Cornish, Group Chief Executive of Manchester Airports Group, added: “During this pandemic, MAG and the entire travel industry have supported the need for tough measures to prevent the virus from spreading and to respond to new variants.
“At the same time, the reason for restarting international travel safely and as soon as possible is clear.
“Hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in economic value are at stake as families desperately seek a hard-earned vacation or want to be reunited with loved ones separated from during the most difficult years.
“This research is an extremely valuable contribution to the work of the Global Travel Taskforce and paves the way for an early resumption of international travel.”