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All countries removed from travel red list

Written by: Emma Lunn
The government has announced that from 4am on Monday 1 November, the remaining seven destinations will be removed from the red list.

This means that arrivals in the UK from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will not need to pay for and stay in a quarantine hotel.

The red list was reduced to just these seven countries earlier this month.

However, the government has said that the red list is not being scrapped entirely and that the list and quarantine hotels will continue to operate and reviewed every three weeks – further restrictions could be imposed if the government considers there is a risk to public health.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps also announced that a further 30 destinations, including Argentina, Tanzania and Cambodia, will be added to the list of locations with approved Covid-19 vaccine programmes. This brings the total number of countries and territories covered by the inbound vaccination policy to more than 135.

The government said that Delta is now the dominant coronavirus variant in most countries around the world. This means the risk of known variants entering the UK has reduced.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “This is another step in the right direction for international travel with more good news today for passengers, businesses and the travel sector. We’re continuing to make great progress as we recover from the pandemic and today is another example of how far we have come.

“Whether it’s reuniting family members or making it easier for businesses to trade, the success of the vaccine rollout both at home and abroad has allowed us to reach this milestone. However, we must not be complacent and remain ready to spring into action and defend our hard-won gains if needed.”

With the number of destinations on the red list decreasing over the past few months, the government has reduced the amount of quarantine hotel rooms it requires, to reflect lower demand from passengers and deliver better value for the taxpayer. A number of hotel rooms remain on standby should things change.

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and most under-18s arriving into England from non-red list countries have since 24 October been able to use a cheaper lateral flow test post arrival, with a free confirmatory PCR test if they receive a positive result. The same rules will be apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from 31 October.

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “While the rules may have eased for returning to England, there are still significant restrictions on UK travellers in many countries that could prevent or disrupt your travel.

“International travel remains unpredictable and other countries could still take measures at short notice, such as Morocco’s recent decision to ban direct UK flights.

“Anyone looking to book a holiday should book a package, as these come with stronger financial protections, and only use a good provider with a reliable flexible booking policy. A good travel insurance policy will continue to be essential, and it’s also advisable to book with a credit card to give yourself further protection.”

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