It seems the UK Government has decided to abandon the Red List concept completely, with the system placed on ice from next week.
At the time of writing, seven countries remained on the UK Red List. They were
- Dominican Republic
Arrivals after 4 am Monday 1st November 2021 will no longer need to go to a managed quarantine on arrival. Rather they will have to follow the current entry rules.
For those who need a reminder, they are:
- If you are vaccinated through a recognised vaccination authority with an appropriate vaccine and have an appropriate certificate o app, you will need to complete:
- If you are vaccinated via an authority not on the government’s list, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, you will need to complete:
- Pre-Departure Test up to 3 days before departure
- book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 PCR tests – to be taken after arrival in England
- Passenger locator form
- Isolate on arrival for up to 10 days (with Test to Release available at Day 5)
- Day 2 Test (PCR)
- Day 8 test (PCR)
You can check which vaccines and which authorities are accepted at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countries-with-approved-covid-19-vaccination-programmes-and-proof-of-vaccination. Also note what requirement you will need to meet (either NHS COVID Pass, EU Digital COVID Certificate, the US CDC Card or a vaccination certificate from your local authority
The full guidance is at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
Rules for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are subject to approval by their governments.
It isn’t going completely away
The red list and quarantine hotel policy remains in place and will continue to act as a crucial line of defence against the importation of variants of concern. Her Majestys Government will review the red list every 3 weeks and will impose restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health.
According to the Government, the Delta variant is now the dominant variant in most countries around the world. This means the risk of known variants entering the UK has reduced and the government can confidently remove these 7 destinations from the red list, with decisions informed by UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) assessment. The data for all countries and territories will be kept under review, including the emergence of new variants, and the government will not hesitate to take action where the epidemiological picture changes.
With the number of destinations on the red list decreasing over the past few months, the government has reduced the amount of quarantine hotel rooms it requires, to reflect lower demand from passengers and deliver better value for the taxpayer. A number of hotel rooms remain on standby should the government need to quickly respond to an increased risk from another country or territory and reintroduce Managed Quarantine Service for red list passengers.
Accepted vaccination statues
From Monday eligible travellers with appropriate proof of vaccination from over 30 further countries and territories, including Argentina, Tanzania and Cambodia, will also qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to the UK. This brings the total number of countries and territories covered by the inbound vaccination policy to over 135.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
This is another step in the right direction for international travel with more good news today for passengers, businesses and the travel sector. We’re continuing to make great progress as we recover from the pandemic and today is another example of how far we have come.
Whether it’s reuniting family members or making it easier for businesses to trade, the success of the vaccine rollout both at home and abroad has allowed us to reach this milestone. However, we must not be complacent and remain ready to spring into action and defend our hard-won gains if needed.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said
I am glad we are able to reduce the travel list even further, giving a huge boost to businesses, families and friends wanting to travel.
The red list and quarantine remain vital in protecting our borders – we are keeping a small number of quarantine rooms on standby and will not hesitate to take swift action by adding countries to the red list if the risk increases again.
All Change on the 1st November
With England moving to a risk-based strategy via vaccination status and abandoning the quarantine system – they hope will be to open up travel to anyone who wants to come to the UK – be it for personal reasons or business.
This emulates the move the US is making, along with other countries.
For travellers, there will be still a little uncertainty – least of all if another variant takes off, if cases rise or if the UK Government changes its mind in three weeks.
Given the track record, I’d file this under “cautious optimism”.
Seven Countries being removed from the red list won’t be the end of the world move – rather it’s a move to show the UK is open for business.
We’ll see what steps are taken next -and if they’re moving forwards. Or backwards.
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