UK Covid travel update: The traffic light system and testing changes in full

·4-min read

Holidaymakers celebrated as the new rules for travelling were unveiled in the latest review.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps delighted travellers with his announcement on Twitter on Friday.

He said: “We’re making testing easier for travel.”

The announcement included details about the Amber list being written off, eight countries being removed from the Red list and there has been a change to the ways travellers will test for Covid.

When will the traffic-light system change?

The traffic light system has been given a facelift.

Changes to testing will begin to come into place from October 4 to make travel easier for holidaymakers.

What does the travel shake-up look like?

The Amber list has been completely scrapped; there are now only low-risk destinations and the Red list.

Double-Jabbed holidaymakers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non red list country from October 4.

Later in October, travellers will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of the day 2 PCR test.

Mr Shapps said he hoped the new measures would “strike the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority”.

He tweeted: “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.

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct , replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world - striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority.”

What countries are expected to move from Red list?

There were eight countries taken off the red list in the latest review.

Turkey, Egypt, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kenya will come off the red list from 22 September.

How does the traffic light system work?

Red: Those returning from red list countries must stay in a managed quarantine hotel for ten days which they should book before their trip. Travellers must complete pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and day eight. This could cost around £2,000 per traveller.

Low-risk destinations: Double-Jabbed travellers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival into England from October 4. Later in October, travellers will be able to take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of the day 2 PCR test.

How did the travel world react?

Gatwick and British Airways welcomed the news as a “step towards recovery”.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport CEO, said: “This is a significant and welcome step towards recovery. Fully vaccinated passengers now have a larger choice of destinations and can book with more confidence in the months before Christmas and beyond - free from the need to arrange pre-departure tests before coming back into the UK. We know there is significant pent-up demand for travel and our staff, restaurants, cafes and bars are ready to welcome back passengers over the coming months.

“We also welcome the news that Day 2 PCR tests will be replaced with the quicker and more affordable lateral flow tests, which will allow us to start catching up with our competitors in Europe and the US - where passenger numbers are already approaching pre-pandemic levels.

“However, we also hope that the remaining constraints including the passenger locator form can be removed soon and we continue to call for the slot rules to be reinstated to incentivise airlines, increase competition and provide passengers with greater choice and flexibility.

“Gatwick is doing everything it can to make travel as easy as possible and only yesterday announced that it is further subsidising cut-price lateral flow tests for holiday-makers.”

Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO and Chairman said: “We welcome the simplification of the traffic light system, and the changes to the testing requirements allowing UK travellers to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme and finally giving customers and business the confidence to book the journeys they’ve been waiting for.

“Based on the scientific evidence, with fewer than 1% of people returning from low-risk countries testing positive for Covid (lower than the UK’s rate), we urge ministers to keep this policy under review, eliminating all testing for fully vaccinated travellers as soon as possible in the future, in line with most other European countries.”

Read More

Simon Rattle: Music faces a grim future unless Brexit red tape is cut

Notting Hill director Roger Michell dies at 65

Harry and Meghan on ‘wonderful’ trip to New York

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting