Travel update: UK lifts advice for 51 countries - including Bahamas and Jamaica

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Government advice against non-essential travel to 51 countries including the Bahamas has been lifted

The Government is lifting its advice against non-essential travel to a further 51 countries and territories due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the decision allows people to “exercise personal responsibility”.

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The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) will lift its advice for cthe Bahamas, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Martinique, Palau, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara on Friday.

Advice for a further 42 locations will be lifted on Monday, including Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Indonesia, Mexico, the Seychelles, South Africa and Thailand.

It follows the removal of travel advisories to 32 countries on Wednesday, and is part of a new policy to stop advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds except in “exceptional circumstances”, such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.

This makes it simpler for people visiting those locations to obtain travel insurance.

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Ms Truss said: “These updates make travel abroad easier – boosting trade, tourism and reuniting friends and families.

“I am delighted that the safe reopening of travel allows people to exercise personal responsibility and visit more destinations across the globe.”

Changes to the red list start on Monday

It also comes after the announcement on Thursday that 47 countries will be removed from the travel red list in the UK.

The changes come into force on Monday at 4am and mean countries such as South Africa and Thailand are among those which will be removed from the list.

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Travellers arriving from those destinations will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

The seven destinations which will be left on the red list are Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela – the Department for Transport said.

The Government will also extend the inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories across the globe including India, South Africa and Turkey, meaning eligible passengers arriving from rest of world countries only need to take a day two test in England.

And it said 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 two tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR test if positive.

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Testing policy change to be in place by end of month

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted on Friday the previously-announced policy of allowing eligible fully-vaccinated arrivals to use a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test for their post-arrival test – rather than the PCR version – will be in place by the end of the month.

No precise date has been set but Mr Shapps said the goal is to have made the switch by this month’s half-term break.

Asked if he was referring to English schools’ half-term holidays around October 22, he told Times Radio: “Yes, that’s right, October 22. That’s the goal and, as I say, the testing companies are gearing up to do that.

“I’ve spoken to the airports including Heathrow and they even have tests available as you walk through the airport, so you could be done and dusted before you even get home with these things, which will be a massive improvement to having to send off PCR tests to labs and waiting for the results and all the costs involved.”

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British Airways reported a five-fold increase in searches for holidays on its website in the hours after the red-list reduction was announced, compared with the same period during the previous day.

Cancun, Cape Town and Johannesburg were among the most popular destinations.

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