The government of United Kingdom has announced the latest changes to its travel traffic light system. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has announced that 47 countries will be removed from the red list of countries.
Red list cut
Starting 11th October 2021 at 04:00 hours, the red list of countries will be reduced to to 7 countries, according to the UK Government website. The 7 countries which will remain on the red list include Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Quarantine removed for arrivals from 37 countries
The UK government has also announced that it has removed the mandatory quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from 37 countries in addition to those already exempted. This includes India, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong and Turkey, among others. They will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UKresidents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England.
This means that eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from rest of world countries will only need to take a day 2 test in England.
The UK government has also confirmed that passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive.
Other passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red destination must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5).
With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe. Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery.
Stay up to date: Sign up for my newsletter to never miss latest Aviation and Travel news.
News well received
The news that quarantine will be removed from arrivals from an additional 37 countries and the red list dropped from 54 to 7 countries has been well received by airlines and travel associations.
Sean Doyle, Chairman and CEO, British Airways, said:
It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel. Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries, and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage. Once we have a firm date for the reopening of US borders in November, we look forward to reconnecting our two countries, reigniting transatlantic businesses and reuniting families who have been separated for the best part of two years. We are ready, and we look forward to operating our first flights and welcoming back our customers.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:
The considerable reduction in the Red List and recognition of many more countries’ vaccination status is another positive step towards the UK’s recovery from the pandemic and a boost to international travel. We are ready to welcome fully vaccinated arrivals from India, South Africa, and Hong Kong to the UK. However, to ensure the full economic benefits are realised and that Britain’s global ambitions are met, all testing for fully vaccinated travellers from low risk destinations must be removed, bringing us into line with Europe and the US. We look forward to receiving the date for the reopening of the US border for fully vaccinated international visitors as soon as possible, allowing the UK to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said:
The BTA welcomes the scything changes to the UK’s red list. This is a fantastic boost for business and leisure travel. The Government must now bring us into step with other countries by dropping Day 2 testing requirements and leading the way on international protocols for entry. It is only when there is international reciprocity that we can look forward to international business travel catching up with domestic travel levels.
Julia Simpson, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said:
There is no justification for a red list to remain in the UK. Other countries have realised that blanket country measures are no longer needed and instead assess on individual risk and whether travellers have been fully jabbed. While this is great news for countries such as South Africa which have been severely impacted by their red list status, welcoming all fully-vaccinated travellers, regardless of country of origin is key to restarting safe international travel.
What do you think of UK government’s latest changes to its traffic light system? Let me know in the comments section below.