Traffic light system to be scrapped from 4 October, PCR tests to continue until end of month

·3-min read

Major changes to the UK’s rules for international travel have been announced by the government.

In a statement, the transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the traffic light lists will be scrapped from 4 October, and that from that date onwards, fully vaccinated travellers won’t need a pre-departure or “fit to fly” test before arrival into England from a non-red country.

The key travel system changes are:

  • Green, amber and red lists will go, being replaced by two lists: “red list and rest of world”

  • Fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace day two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests – from “the end of October”

  • Full vaccinated travellers no longer need to take pre-departure tests (PDTs) before flying to the UK

  • Eight destinations are being removed from the red list on 22 September, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives

  • The UK government will also recognise full vaccinations from a further 17 countries and territories including Japan and Singapore

  • Non vaccinated passengers will have to self isolate for 10 days on arrival into the UK from non-red countries - that is, those on the “rest of world” list

Follow travel update LIVE: Latest news from today’s announcement

From “later in October”, vaccinated travellers will also be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

“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,” reads a statement from the Department for Transport.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “TRAVEL UPDATE: we’re making testing easier for travel From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.”

Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives are among eight countries that will be removed from the red list on 22 September, before the current traffic light system is scrapped on 4 October.

Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also be removed from the red list on that date.

No new additions will be made to the red list at that stage.

“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,” said the transport secretary in a statement.

“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.”

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