UK travel update: new Covid travel rules explained after announcement - and countries removed from red list

The green and amber travel lists have been scrapped - and requirements for Covid PCR tests are changing

The traffic light system for international travel is to be scrapped and the number of countries from which returning travellers will be required to quarantine in a hotel is to be cut, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

From October 4, there will be a single red list of countries from where travellers to England must stay in a Government-supervised hotel – with Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives all removed from the line-up.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said testing was being “made easier” from October 4

- Current requirements for post-arrival PCR tests would be replaced by lateral flow tests later in October

- People who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations

- The traffic light system of countries on green, amber and red lists is being replaced with a single red list, simplifying rules on travel for non-red list countries

- The Department for Transport confirmed the eight countries coming off the red list as of 4am on Wednesday are Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya

What’s been said 

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said the new system was “proportionate” and “reflects the new landscape” of the numbers of those who are fully vaccinated.

He said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”

Responding to the changes to travel measures, Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said they were a “significant and welcome step towards recovery” and a boost for travellers seeking to get away this winter.

He said: “Fully vaccinated passengers now have a larger choice of destinations and can book with more confidence in the months before Christmas and beyond – free from the need to arrange pre-departure tests before coming back into the UK.”

He added: “We also welcome the news that day 2 PCR tests will be replaced with the quicker and more affordable lateral flow tests, which will allow us to start catching up with our competitors in Europe and the US – where passenger numbers are already approaching pre-pandemic levels.”

Background

The red list, first created in February with 30 countries, has 62 countries listed currently, subject to change. These are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Georgia
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Réunion
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

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