The most dramatic change to the UK’s coronavirus-related international transport system has just been announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
A total of 47 countries and territories are to be removed from the red list from 4am this Monday (October 11). It leaves just a handful of countries, all in Latin America and all with reported cases of new coronavirus variants Lambada or Mu, on the red list for which quarantine will remain mandatory upon arrival back in England.
The government believes that enough of the UK is vaccinated to mitigate the threat of incoming passengers from countries with different vaccination rates.
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The 47 countries that will no longer appear on the red list are:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, DR Congo, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Paraguay, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For these countries as long as you are fully vaccinated, from Monday all you will need to do is book and pay for a ‘day 2’ COVID-19 test for after you return and fill in a Passenger Locator form.
People who are not fully vaccinated will have to take a COVID-19 test before travelling, as well as day 2 and 8 after arriving, as they quarantine for 10 days. They also need to fill in a passenger locator form and check with airlines that they will be allowed to board as some airlines are no longer conveying the unvaccinated.
The seven remaining red list countries will be:
Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
For these countries, you will need to enter government managed mandatory quarantine.
From the end of October, the UK will also recognise as fully vaccinated people participating in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials from countries/territories including Japan, Canada, Australia and the EU, provided they can supply adequate proof of their participation.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.”
Other announcements made today were:
- People from 37 countries and territories which are not on the red list including Brazil, India, Pakistan and Turkey now subject to the same rules as returning UK residents (as long as they are fully vaccinated).
- Photos of negative lateral flow tests will be accepted by the government to verify Covid status ahead of half-term.
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