Heathrow Airport, London. archive photo. | Reuters

British tourists will have to submit a negative PCR test when they return to their country after the ban on travel overseas is lifted, according to a statement from the British Government on Friday.

A 'traffic light' system to categorise countries according to their level of vaccination and other issues has been set up in the UK, with three types of countries: red, orange and green and Spain will most likely be on the orange list.

The new mechanism was revealed by Transport Minister, Grant Shapps who explained the colour coded system.

Green countries:
Travellers won’t have to quarantine on their return to the UK, but they will have to have two tests, one before they leave and one when they return.

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Orange countries:
Travellers must take a test before they return to the UK, isolate for ten days when they get back, then take another test. They will also have the option of taking a third test on the fifth day of return to shorten the isolation.

Red countries:
Travellers must take a test before they return to the UK, quarantine at a designated hotel when they get to Britian and submit to a minimum of three diagnostic tests.

To classify foreign countries within the ‘traffic light’ system, the British Government will consider the progress of a country’s vaccination plan, the degree of infection, the presence of risk variants of the virus, and the reliability of scientific data.

Minister Shapps also indicated that the ‘traffic light' list and requirements will be reviewed again in July and October and said he's working to reduce the cost of testing, amid criticism from the Aviation and Tourism Sectors who believe it’s too expensive for most people.

Overseas travel from the UK is banned until May 17, except in essential cases and Minister Shapps said he would confirm next month when and if holidays abroad could be resumed.