Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that 47 destinations are to be removed from England’s red list from 04:00 on Monday 11 October.
From Monday the red list will be reduced to just 7 destinations, including Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Passengers returning from all other countries and territories will not be required to enter hotel quarantine on their return to England.
South Africa and Mexico are among the destinations that were on the red list, but are set to be removed next week.
Speaking about the changes to the travel list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said;
“With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.
“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery.”
It has also been announced that 37 destinations will have their vaccination status certificates recognised, which will allow passengers from these destinations to avoid some coronavirus testing requirements.
The UK Government has said that the red list can “confidently” be reduced due to continued progress on vaccination in the UK and around the world. The UK Government only sets coronavirus travel rules in England, and so the devolved administrations may choose to adopt different policies – though they have often aligned themselves with travel policies in England.
Wales has confirmed it will follow the UK Government’s changes to coronavirus travel policies, though warned “all of these measures, when taken together considerably increase the risk new variant being introduced into Wales and the UK.”
In a written statement to the Senedd, Health Minister Eluned Morgan MS said;
“We have consistently urged the UK Government to take a more precautionary approach towards international travel to prevent coronavirus being re-imported into the UK, especially new and emerging variants, which may not respond to the vaccines.
“As most people travelling overseas will do so from English airports and ports and, as Wales shares an open border with England, although we are concerned about the risks related to travel, it is not practical develop its own border health policy in isolation from the other nations of the UK.”
The travel changes come despite the UK coronavirus case rate sitting at around 340 cases per 100,000 people – at which levels the UK previously saw heavy restrictions and lockdown measures in force. On Thursday, a further 40,701 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK, along with a further 122 recorded deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.