Travel update UK: changes to green, amber and red lists explained - as France removed from ‘amber plus’
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The government has announced a series of changes to travel rules that will come into effect at 4am on Sunday morning.
France will be moved off the ‘amber plus’ list meaning that fully-vaccinated holidaymakers travelling to the country from England will no longer have to quarantine.
Meanwhile, it will be easier for people to travel to India, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates which have all been moved from the red list to amber.
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Here we take a look at the changes in full.
Seven countries will be added to England’s green travel list from 4am on Sunday, the Government announced on Wednesday.
They are Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway.
Anyone returning from those countries will no longer need to quarantine on arrival.
There are currently 24 countries on the green list, including the popular holiday destinations of Barbados, Croatia and Malta – unfortunately 16 of these are on the “green watch list” meaning they could suddenly be moved to amber.
Australia and New Zealand are both unambiguously green – unfortunately neither are welcoming British travellers at the moment.
France will lose its confusing “amber plus” status which has meant all travellers, and not just those who are not fully vaccinated, have had to self-isolate for 10 days upon return.
Our nearest neighbour has been in a category all by itself because of concerning levels of the beta variant of Covid-19 there.
Elsewhere, it will get slightly easier to visit India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as they will be moved from the red to the amber list, meaning arrivals will no longer have to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel.
Mexico, Georgia and the French overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte are joining the red list.
If you have a holiday to one of those destinations already booked and want to press ahead, bear in mind the cost for solo travellers in a quarantine hotel in England will be ramped up from £1,750 to £2,285 from August 12.
The charge for an additional adult sharing a room will more than double from £650 to £1,430 to “better reflect the increased costs involved”, the Government said.
Can I still go on my holiday to Spain, France or Italy?
There were fears in the travel industry that Spain – the most popular overseas destination for UK holidaymakers – could be added to England’s red list.
The Government announced it would keep its amber status, but urged travellers arriving in the UK from Spain to take a PCR test for the mandatory pre-departure test “as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country”.
Many travellers have been relying on the cheaper lateral flow test kits which are less reliable than PCRs.
Both Italy and France will be on the amber list - with the latter moving to that list on Sunday - which means that fully-vaccinated travellers to those destinations will not need to quarantine.
Why is Turkey on the red list?
Turkey is a popular tourist destination for UK travellers and there had been suggestions in the run-up to the travel review that it might move off the ‘red list’.
However, it will remain on that list as the country battles another wave of coronavirus.
The virus has spread since pandemic restrictions were relaxed with the Turkish government urging its population to get vaccinated.
What are the rules when I get home?
There are different rules for countries on the red, amber and green lists that also differ according to a traveller’s vaccination status.
Passengers to England returning from a red list country must have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before departure and must book a hotel quarantine package including two Covid-19 tests even if they have had both jabs.
They must also complete a passenger locator form.
If you have come from an amber list country, you need proof of a negative test before travel and those who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate 10 days upon arrival and take a PCR test on day two and day eight.
You might be able to get out of quarantine early if you pay for a private PCR test to be taken on day five under the Test to Release scheme.
Those with two vaccines only need to take a PCR test on day two of their arrival and can skip self-isolation – the same rules apply to those who are under the age of 18 regardless of their vaccination status.
Anyone returning from a green list country need only have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travel, fill in a passenger locator form and take a test on day two after arrival.
Do these changes apply elsewhere in the UK?
The devolved nations have control over their own amber, red and green lists of countries as well as the rules around quarantine upon return.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have, however, followed England in introducing the same travel relaxations.
But the changes drew criticism from the Welsh Government which is still advising against “all but essential” travel abroad, and those who have been to a red list country cannot even enter until they have completed 10 days of quarantine in England or Scotland first.
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