UK: New simplified travel rules come into force with a single red list

Published on : Monday, October 4, 2021


The new simplified travel rules have come into force in the United Kingdom (UK), with the traffic light system replaced by a single red list.

Most fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from non-red list countries will no longer have to take a test before setting off for the United Kingdom (UK).

The Airlines UK said it would make travelling abroad easier and cheaper. But those coming from red list destinations must still pay to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

Under the changes, which came into force from today morning, the green and amber lists have been scrapped.

The new testing rules are also being eased for people travelling from non-red list destinations who have been vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US, or 18 other recognised countries.

Anyone under 18 who is resident in these countries can also travel to the UK without testing.

These groups were already able to avoid self-isolating on their arrival back in the UK.

All travellers – except children under five years old – will still have to pay for a PCR test two days after arrival.

The people who are not fully vaccinated will need a pre-departure test and a PCR test on days two and eight after they return, and must self-isolate for 10 days at home.

And those arriving from red-list countries, including Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa, must quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel, at a cost of £2,285 for one adult.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that they are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector. Their priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight-in-10 people now fully vaccinated, they are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.

There was a surge in holiday bookings after the government announced the changes last month and the travel sector have welcomed the move.

The industry has previously criticised the government for being too slow to ease and simplify rules on testing and quarantine.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, which represents UK carriers, said that things are moving in the right direction and the removal of these restrictions will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel.

However, he said there was still more to do, adding that the UK remains “an outlier on arrivals testing for vaccinated passengers”.

Willie Walsh, head of industry body the International Air Transport Association, welcomed the change as a “positive step”, adding that the United Kingdom’s rules have so far been “very restrictive”.

No date has been set for this change but ministers are aiming to have it in place for the half-term school break. So far, no other UK nation has followed suit.

Scotland has said it will “align with the UK post-arrival testing regime” but has not announced further details.

The Welsh government said it had “concerns” about easing its testing regime.

The UK recorded 30,439 cases on Sunday, with the total number of cases in the past seven days up one per cent on the previous week. However, the number of Covid deaths and hospital admissions are falling, with 43 deaths within 28 days of a positive test reported on Sunday.

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