The government has missed a deadline set by a parliamentary committee for announcing where different countries will be in a new traffic light system for international travel.
In a list of demands last week, the Transport Select Committee called for green, amber and red lists of destinations – with each colour carrying different rules for travel – to be published by 1 May “at the latest”.
The information had not been published as of Saturday morning.
Instead, the Department for Transport – which did not agree to the 1 May demand – has said the lists will be made public in “early May”.
It comes as a return to international travel is expected to go ahead on 17 May under the next stage of England’s roadmap out of lockdown.
It is currently illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Many people are eager to discover what countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate.
Travellers from green nations – regarded as low risk – must take a PCR test within two days of arriving back in the UK, but there will be no quarantine requirement.
While the official lists have not been published yet, a travel expert has predicted Portgual, Malta, Gibraltar, Iceland and Finland will be on the “green list” from mid-May.
Huw Merriman, the Tory chair of the Transport Select Committee, said the categorisation of countries is “the bare minimum” that the travel industry and consumers need to make preparations for 17 May and the lack of information means they are “still in the dark”.
“Uncertainty has been prolonged. This uncertainty could cost people their jobs,” the MP added.
“How can it be right that countries with slower vaccination roll-outs are safely reopening to international travellers while the UK stays static?
“The government is in danger of squandering the opportunity to take advantage of the UK’s world-leading vaccine dividend as countries across the globe begin to open up for international travel.”
According to The Guardian, the list of green, amber and red countries may not be released until 10 May – one week before the expected return to non-essential foreign travel.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The government has not missed a deadline – we have always said we will confirm by early May if international travel can resume on 17 May and which countries will fall into which list. This will determine the requirements for travel for passengers.”
They added: “The Taskforce is working toward restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way, to allow families and friends to reunite, and businesses to start thriving again, while ensuring we protect public health.”
Additional reporting by Press Association