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Travel red list slashed to seven countries

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Written by: Emma Lunn
08/10/2021
The government has removed 47 countries and territories removed from the travel red list, while proof of Covid-19 vaccination will be recognised from 37 new countries and territories.

From 4am on Monday 11 October just Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will remain on the red list. People arriving in the UK from these countries will need to quarantine.

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under 18s returning from countries and territories not on the red list, can do so with just a day two Covid test. The requirement for the test to be a PCR test will be replaced with a lateral flow test later this month.

The government has also extended the inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories including India, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong and Turkey. Eligible vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK from these countries only need to take a day two test in England, rather than quarantine for 10 days.

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 two and day eight test, and complete 10 days self-isolation.

The government said the continued progress on vaccination both in the UK and around the world means ministers can confidently reduce the size of the red list to focus on countries which pose the highest risk, informed by UK Health Security Agency’s assessment.

The latest travel update comes after the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) lifted advice against all but essential travel for more than 30 countries and territories earlier this week.

Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “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.”

The change to restrictions builds on the recent simplification of international travel rules, including the removal of pre-departure testing for eligible fully vaccinated travellers implemented earlier this week.

From late October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers including under 18s returning from a non-red country will have the option to replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test, followed by a free PCR test if positive, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.

The government also said that passengers taking postal tests will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify the test result. The aim is to have this system in place for people returning from half-term breaks by the end of the month.

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