Due to long passport control queues, travellers from red and green list countries are waiting alongside each other.
At Heathrow airport, travelers arriving from low-risk (or "green list") countries are waiting alongside passengers from high-risk or "red list" countries where certain strains of COVID-19 have been prominent. The decision has been flagged as a safety hazard, as several media outlets have reported that airport arrival halls are poorly ventilated, and could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The Guardian reported that manual COVID-19 processes, including paperwork and COVID-19 test reviews, take 15 minutes per person.
Several political parties, including the Labour party, have expressed dissatisfaction over the government's handling of people traveling abroad during the pandemic. While speaking to Sky News, the Green Party's former leader Caroline Lucas said inadequate social distancing and ventilation at airport arrival halls are significant "concerns."
The U.K. government restarted international travel from May 17, 2021. Under the current travel restrictions, twelve countries fall under the green list, and passengers arriving from these countries where COVID-19 infections are low do not need to self-isolate. Only British or Irish nationals and U.K. residents from the red list countries can enter the U.K. Upon arrival, red list passengers have to undergo hotel quarantine for ten days.
On May 20, transport secretary Grant Shapps said that he wanted to separate all passengers from Amber and Red countries from June 2021 onwards.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.