The UK’s red list has been dramatically slashed to just seven countries. From 4am on Monday, 11 October, 47 countries including Thailand, South Africa, Mexico and the Seychelles will be removed from the list, meaning travellers from those destinations will no longer have to undergo the 11-night mandatory hotel quarantine.
The only countries left on the red list will be Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “It’s good that the Government has acted on ABTA’s and the industry’s calls by reducing the red list to seven countries.
“It is a sensible step forward in further opening up international travel.”
Liz Mathews, General Manager of Flight Centre UK, said “Opening up the red list is a real step in the right direction and means that the majority of the world is finally accessible to Brits once again.”
“We’ve already seen huge demand for travel, with bookings doubling in the first week of October versus the same period in September following the removal of the traffic light system.
“With Brits biting at the bit to explore again, we predict winter sun destinations such as Mexico, Bali and South Africa to be the top of the list for those wanting a bucket list break.”
The new rules apply specifically to England and Wales, but the Northern Ireland Executive has indicated that it will also follow suit.
Testing Requirement Change
The UK government also announced that the day two PCR test requirement for returning travellers is going to be replaced by a lateral flow test, which will cost roughly half that of a PCR test.
Although no specific date was set for the change, sources say it will come in time time for the mid-term break on 22 October.
Mark Tanzer is urging the government to follow through on this: “Although we have a much-improved system, we now want to see the government put their plans into place to replace day 2 PCR tests with lateral flow in time for the October half term in England, which begins later this month, and we would urge the Devolved Administrations to also prioritise swift implementation.”
“Specialist long-haul travel companies will also breathe a sigh of relief that the restrictions – which have stopped them trading and making any money – are being eased,” he added.