All remaining countries removed from travel red list

·3-min read

All remaining countries on England’s red list for international travel will be removed, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

The Cabinet minister announced that the Latin American countries of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will be taken off the list at 4am on November 1.

This means arrivals will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285.

Mr Shapps wrote on Twitter: “We will keep the red list category in place as a precautionary measure to protect public health and are prepared to add countries and territories back if needed, as the UK’s first line of defence.”

He added that from Monday, the Government will recognise coronavirus vaccines for arrivals from more than 30 new countries and territories including Peru and Uganda.

The Welsh Government confirmed that it will adopt the same changes to the red list and vaccine recognition.

No announcement has been made by the devolved administrations in Scotland or Northern Ireland, but in recent months they have mirrored Westminster’s changes to travel rules.

The end of hotel quarantine would bring the UK into line with most of the rest of Europe.

Health 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.”

The hotel quarantine policy was introduced in February as part of measures to reduce the risk from arriving travellers infected with coronavirus.

But it has been blamed for contributing to UK travel firms struggling to recover from the pandemic.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said the announcement was a “significant step forward to normalising international travel and should give people confidence to book”.

She went on: “Ultimately, we need to return to a situation similar to prior to the pandemic, in which people can travel without further tests or forms to fill out.

“The UK and devolved governments should aim for this as soon as is safely possible.”

Clive Wratten, head of the Business Travel Association, commented: “The removal of all countries from the red list is appreciated.

“However, the lurking threat of further introductions to this list and the continued existence of quarantine hotels means that it does not give travellers the confidence that they need.”

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, claimed there is “no justification” for hotel quarantine to be used.

He said: “There have been no new variants of concern since May and countries are now learning that blanket border measures, such as blocking whole countries, don’t work.

“The best approach is to check for an individual’s vaccine status and ensure they are up to date if they want to travel without restrictions.

“It’s encouraging that the UK Government have finally cottoned on to this.”

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