The UK government has announced that as of Monday, October 11, it will remove 47 countries from its red list for Covid-19 travel restrictions, with only seven remaining with the strictest entry requirements, while the rules are relaxed for fully vaccinated travelers arriving from 37 of the countries.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter that the Transport Department will move 47 countries – including South Africa – from the red list to the ‘Rest of the world’ category, meaning fully vaccinated travelers do not do not need to isolate or take a Covid before departure. -19 test. They will need to take a test no later than the second day after arriving in the UK.
The countries remaining on the red list are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Travelers entering the UK from those countries will need to self-isolate in a government-approved hotel and pass Covid tests on days two and eight after arrival.
Meanwhile, the number of countries from which fully vaccinated status will be accepted has increased by 37, including India, Turkey, Brazil, Hong Kong and Ghana, meaning passengers will be treated the same. way than those who received their vaccines in the UK.
The news follows a relaxation in travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office earlier this week.
Shapps said, “Restoring people’s confidence in travel is the key to rebuilding our economy and leveling this country. With fewer restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move forward safely on the road to recovery together. “
Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid also confirmed that the government will move towards using cheaper and faster lateral flow tests in place of the PCR version in England later this month- this. Anyone with a positive result will be eligible for a free PCR test for follow-up. Additionally, passengers passing postal tests will be able to send a photo of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify the result.
The announcement has been well received by the travel industry, but many question the decision to maintain a redlist.
Julia Simpson, CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said: “There is no reason for a Red List to stay in the UK. Other countries have realized that general national measures are no longer necessary and instead assess individual risk and whether travelers have been fully trapped.
“While this is great news for countries like South Africa that have been severely affected by their Red List status, welcoming all fully vaccinated travelers, regardless of their country of origin, is critical to restarting safe international travel. “
Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, commented: “The BTA welcomes the drastic changes to the UK Red List. It’s a huge boost for business and leisure travel.
“The government now needs to get us in tune with other countries by dropping day two testing requirements and clearing the way for international entry protocols. It is only when there is international reciprocity that we can expect international business travel to catch up with domestic travel levels. “
In response to the lifting of the restrictions, British Airways announced it would increase its services to destinations that have been removed from the red list, with CEO Sean Doyle saying: “It finally feels like we are seeing the light at the end of the day. ‘a very long tunnel. . Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in Red List countries and now is the time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully vaccinated travelers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the world stage. . “
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson commented: “The drastic reduction in the Red List and recognition of the vaccination status of many more countries is another positive step towards the UK’s resumption from the pandemic and a boost to the international travel… However, to ensure that all economic benefits are realized and that Britain’s global ambitions are met, all testing for fully vaccinated travelers from low-risk destinations must be removed, bringing us into compliance with Europe and the United States. “