UK Covid travel rules expected to be overhauled in October

Green and amber lists to be merged in switch to emphasis on traveller vaccination status rather than destination

Holiday makers at the beach of Fontane Bianche in Siracusa, Italy in August. The UK travel industry has long been complaining that Britain's Covid rules are over the top and an obstacle for prospective international holidaymakers. Getty
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The UK's Covid travel rules are in line to be changed with a new system based on people's vaccination status expected in October.

The planned changes will see the green and amber lists - which include the amber-listed UAE - move to one list, with red-list destinations still having to enter hotel quarantine, according to the i newspaper.

UK Health Minister Sajid Javid on Sunday said he was planning to ditch the requirement for those returning to the UK from abroad to take a PCR test upon their return. If this materialises, under the new system fully vaccinated holidaymakers will only be required to take one PCR test before departure.

Discussions on the future shape of the UK's Covid travel rules have been taking place since its traffic light system was first set up.

The government has said the third and final “checkpoint” will conclude no later than October 1, when every adult above the age of 18 in the UK is expected to have been offered both jabs.

If the traffic light system is scotched, it will be joyously received by the UK's travel sector which has long complained that the rules are over the top and place unnecessary obstacles in front of prospective international holidaymakers.

Travel expert Paul Charles, chief executive of the PC Agency, posted on Twitter that the planned changes would bring the UK more in line with the US.

“The traffic light system is expected to be scrapped by October 1 — at last. Airlines and some of us in the sector are aware of plans to create a simpler system, where countries are either red or not. This would be the US model in effect, which I’ve been calling for.”

The next - and potentially last - review of the UK's green, amber and red list traffic light system is expected this week on either September 15 or 16.

Having missed out in the last review in late August, eyes are on Turkey and Pakistan to see if they will be removed from the UK's red list.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 2:47 PM