In a case of bolting the barn after the horse escaped, Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport is simplifying the travel system that is the current hot mess when coming to the United Kingdom.
The Traffic Light System
The traffic light system is to be simplified further – with the Red, Amber and Green lists scrapped. This will be changed to a Red List and a Rest of the World List.
This Change kicks in from 4 am on Monday 4 October.
Testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a Pre Departure Test when travelling to England
From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England. The government wants to introduce this by the end of October, aiming to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
What if you’re unvaccinated?
Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. Test to release remains an option to reduce the self-isolation period.
In other words, the changes will only apply if you have been vaccinated.
Expansion of recognition of tests from other countries
From 4 October, England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from a host of new countries – who will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK travellers – including 17 countries and territories such as Japan and Singapore, following the success of an existing pilot with the US and Europe.
- Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Note that the mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised
- under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the
- and have proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body
Traffic light Review continued
Whilst we wait for the 4th of October to come round more countries will come off the rd List and move onto the Amber List. These include:
- Turkey – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements
- Pakistan – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/pakistan/entry-requirements
- The Maldives – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives/entry-requirements
- Egypt – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt/entry-requirements
- Sri Lanka – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/entry-requirements
- Oman – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/oman/entry-requirements
- Bangladesh – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bangladesh/entry-requirements
- Kenya – https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya/entry-requirements
Changes will come into effect at 4 am Wednesday 22 September.
Passengers who aren’t recognised as being fully vaccinated with authorised vaccines and certificates under England’s international travel rules will still have to take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test and self-isolate for 10 days upon their return from a non-red list country under the new two-tiered travel programme. Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers who wish to shorten their isolation period. Other travellers will have to complete a Passenger Locator form and complete a Day 2 PCR Test.
From late October, The UK Government will also be making changes to allow passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey to follow the measures associated with their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.
What about Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Scotland is applying the move differently, with The Scottish government dropping the traffic light system but would not follow England in removing the pre-departure test requirement for fully vaccinated people returning from non-red list countries.
The Welsh government said it would consider the UK government’s proposed changes too, whilst both Scotland and Wales will mirror the red list changes.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, the executive will follow the changes of the traffic light system, with the changes to pre-arrival testing will be considered.
As usual – check where your final destination is, as the rules in different parts of the United Kingdom will be different.
Grant Shapps Transport Secretary said:
Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.
Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than 8 in 10 adults vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.
Sajid Javid Health and Social Care Secretary said:
Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad.
As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace.
For the UK government, this is truly a mixture of bolting the barn after the horse escaped and trying to be proactive, it seems that being slightly more sensible is finally coming to the fore, with the summer season long gone and trying to build up hope for the Half-Term season in October.
As part of the third Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review, today’s update reiterates the government’s focus on protecting its borders from the most dangerous variants and ensures continuity for industry and passengers for the remainder of the year.
There will be a further review of the UK’s international travel policy early in the new year to provide further certainty for the spring and summer 2022 seasons.
And just a reminder
Just because the United Kingdom has changed its list rules it does not mean that other countries will reciprocate and that each country still has its entry rules that need to be followed, as well as the entry rules to the United Kingdom.
Travel, if we like it or not, is different this year with countries taking cautious approaches to entry (be it taking their time processing entry into their territories, requiring pre-tests, testing for another form or another), with some territories still refusing to accept visitors directly from certain counties (eg, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, etc).
As such check both the country you are planning to travel to, as well as the country you are returning to.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, featuring in-depth coverage, unique research, as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.
Also remember that we are part of the BoardingArea community, bringing you the latest frequent flyer news from around the world.