Grant Shapps removes 47 countries from the foreign travel 'red list'

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps removes 47 countries from the foreign travel ‘red list’ – leaving just SEVEN banned nations – as he also eases rules for more tourists visiting the UK

  • Grant Shapps today announced he is removing 47 countries from the ‘red list’ 
  • Changes from October 11 will mean only seven countries remain on banned list 
  • Move will open up travel between the UK and dozens of long-haul destinations
  • Comes after the Government replaced traffic light system with simpler ‘red list’ 

Grant Shapps today announced he is removing 47 countries from the Government’s international travel ‘red list’. 

The Transport Secretary said changes coming into force from 4am on Monday October 11 will mean just seven nations remain on the banned list. 

The move will open up travel between the UK and dozens of long-haul destinations including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand. 

It means double-vaccinated people will be able to return to the UK from most countries in the world without having to take a pre-departure test or quarantine on arrival but they will have to take a coronavirus test on the second day they are back. 

Mr Shapps also said he is easing travel rules to allow more fully-vaccinated tourists from abroad to visit the UK. 

He tweeted: ‘From Monday (11th Oct) I’ll be cutting 47 destinations from our red list – including South Africa, with just 7 countries and territories remaining – all others will be included in the “rest of world” category.

‘I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vax passengers.

‘The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good.’ 

Day two testing requirements are due to be eased later this month, with fully-vaccinated travellers returning from a safe country able to replace their day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test, followed by a free PCR test if positive. 

The Government confirmed this afternoon that passengers taking postal tests will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow result to verify it. 

There are currently 54 countries on the ‘red list’, including Mexico, Cuba, all of mainland South America, and southern and eastern Africa. 

The seven destinations that will stay on the ‘red list’ will be: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. 

Anyone arriving in the UK from a location in the red tier is legally required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of more than £2,200.  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced changes to the Government’s travel ‘red list’

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own travel rules but have recently mirrored announcements made in Westminster.

The UK’s new simplified travel system was rolled out on Monday this week as ministers replaced the traffic light rules with a single ‘red list’ and a ‘rest of the world’ category.   

Fully-vaccinated travellers returning from a ‘rest of the world’ country do not have to take a pre-departure test and are exempt from quarantine but they do have to take a day two test. 

Travellers who are not fully-vaccinated must take a pre-departure test, spend 10 days at home in quarantine when they get back and take tests on day two and day eight. 

The changes to the ‘red list’ came after the Government lifted its advice against non-essential travel to 32 countries and territories.

Bangladesh, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana and Malaysia were among the locations for which travel advice based on the risk of coronavirus has been relaxed, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.

The UK will stop advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds except in ‘exceptional circumstances’ such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed, the FCDO added.

This will make it easier for people visiting those locations to obtain travel insurance.

Before yesterday’s travel advice changes, the FCDO advised against non-essential travel due to the virus to 117 countries and territories.

Advice is expected to be lifted for more locations in the coming days.

 The UK’s new simplified travel system came into force on Monday this week as ministers replaced the traffic light rules with a single ‘red list’

Non-red list arrivals who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take a pre-departure coronavirus test

The FCDO said the change in policy follows the ‘improved public health in many countries’ and the ‘decreased risk to British nationals’ as a result of the vaccine rollout.  

The full list of countries for which the FCDO has eased its travel advice was: Algeria; Armenia; Bangladesh; Belarus; Benin; Comoros; Tokelau and Niue; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Fiji; Gambia; Guinea; Kazakhstan; Kiribati; Kosovo; Liberia; Madagascar; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Nauru; Sao Tome and Principe; Senegal; Solomon Islands; Togo; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Congo; America Samoa; French Polynesia; and Ghana.

The FCDO will continue to advise against all but essential travel for all red list countries where the risk to British nationals is deemed to be ‘unacceptably high’. 

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