Where can I travel abroad this summer? Destinations with low Covid rates and effective vaccination rollouts

Anguilla, Portugal and Iceland are all among the safest destinations to visit this summer should international travel be allowed

With the UK still in the grips of a partial lockdown a holiday abroad might seem a long way off.

And though international travel this Summer has not yet been confirmed the government has suggested that travel outside the UK may be permitted as early as May.

Sign up to our Travel Guide newsletter

Don’t prepare for a return to your favourite holiday destination just yet, however.

Iceland, USA, Thailand and the Greek islands are all among the safest destinations to visit this summer should international travel be allowed

The country is planning to introduce a traffic light system which will assign destinations with a green, amber or red rating depending on its handling of the pandemic.

But which countries will be given the green light for travel this Summer, should international travel open up? We took a look.

What is the criteria for being named assigned green status?

Earlier this month the UK government confirmed that the country would follow a traffic light system when international travel opened up.

Portugal's coronavirus cases have dropped significantly in recent week (Getty Images)

According to the government "countries where we judge the risk to be lower, based for instance on vaccinations, infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern, and their genomic sequencing capacity (or access to genomic sequencing)" will be allocated green status.

Speaking to the Royal Society of Medicine on April 1, Professor Chris Whitty explained that “with any border policy is you don’t worry about any country that’s got less [cases of coronavirus per person] than you have, but you do worry about any country that’s got more than you have” indicating that a green status would be allocated to countries with a lower R rating than the UK.

Which countries have a low case rate and an effective vaccination roll out?


Portugal has recorded 642 cases of coronavirus per million persons in the past fortnight, compared to the United Kingdom’s 413 per million.

It has also vaccinated approximately 22% of its population.

The country is planning to welcome back British tourists from May should they be able to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test.


Remote Iceland has recorded just 205 cases per million in the past fortnight and is one of the few European countries with a better grip of the pandemic than the United Kingdom.

Just over a quarter of the population has been vaccinated so far.

All travellers are welcome to Iceland so long as they can provide a certificate of full vaccination against COVID or a certificate of previous COVID infection.


Roughly 50 cases are being recorded everyday in Malta, a significant drop from a peak of 300 in mid-March.

The island nation has also enjoyed a successful vaccination roll out with 15% of the population fully vaccinated.

The island is due to reopen for tourism on June 1 with proof of vaccination required.

Greek Islands

Greece has yet to get a hold of the coronavirus pandemic with 3,500 cases per million people recorded in the past two weeks.

The situation is significantly better on a number of islands popular with tourists including Corfu and Kos.

An effort to vaccinate the population of these islands, known as Operation Freedom, is currently underway, meaning it may be possible to visit the islands this summer


Currently winning the vaccine race and with 382 cases per million recorded in the past fortnight Israel is a good bet for green list status

Highlights include Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Negev Desert – although searing summer temperatures may make this one to put on hold for autumn months.


Just four new cases of coronavirus were recorded by the Barbados government on April 11 suggesting the country is well and truly past its peak.

According to Reuters 10% of the population has been inoculated.

The Carribean country was one of the few countries included on the UK’s list of travel corridor destinations and could be given the green light again this summer.


While several better-known Caribbean islands have been hit by the virus, Anguilla has seen no deaths and has only recorded 25 cases to date. Currently Covid-free, the island is also on a mission for 70% of residents to have received their first vaccine dose by June 2021.


The popular southeast Asian destination has recorded just 101 cases per million people in the past fortnight.

Its vaccination rollout is yet to get off the ground, however with under 1% of the population inoculated.

Vistors will also be required to quarantine for 10 days meaning it will be necessary to make any visit to the country a lengthy one.


Once the epicentre of the pandemic the US has enjoyed an effective vaccination roll out.

Joe Biden’s announcement that every adult citizen will be available for their first jab this April is likely to give travellers a big boost of confidence for returning to the States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 112 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Read more: