UK travel update: Turkey among eight countries removed from red list

Travellers from Egypt and Pakistan and Oman will also no longer have to quarantine in designated hotels

Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan are among the eight countries set to be removed from the UK's red list for travellers from abroad, the government announced on Friday.

Restrictions will also be lifted from September 22 on the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.

UK travel: green, amber and red list countries

The announcement was made by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a series of tweets. He confirmed that from October 4 the UK's Covid-19 travel rules will be overhauled and its traffic light system replaced with a single red list, mandating hotel quarantine, alongside rules on vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from other countries.

The government said the current amber list covering travel from much of the world would be scrapped – reflecting high levels of vaccination against Covid-19 by other nations.

This reform comes after disquiet among the public and travel industry over complicated rules that enforced PCR tests, making summer holidays prohibitively expensive for many people.

“Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system,” Mr Shapps said.

“One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”

Only the red list will remain – requiring travellers to quarantine in government-approved hotels if they are arriving from Covid hotspots.

If a country is on the red list, then the 10-day hotel quarantine at a cost of £2,285 ($3,140) per person still applies.

The UK has also allowed travellers from 17 new countries to enter under eased rules for the fully vaccinated.

However, these countries do not include the UAE.

Travellers from the UAE – and other countries not included in the UK's fully vaccinated scheme list – must still quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days and take the pre-booked Covid tests before day two and on or after day eight.

If either of these tests are positive, then they will need to take a confirmatory PCR test.

If they test negative, they may be able to end quarantine early through the Test to Release scheme.

The move will greatly reduce the costs currently associated with international travel and was welcomed by the travel industry which has long complained the Covid rules are too burdensome and expensive.

“Moving from the established three traffic light system to a red list, and a two-tier entry regime for vaccinated or non-vaccinated passengers, brings greater clarity to entry requirements and recognises the vaccination status of an additional 17 countries,” said Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives UK.

But he said the new system will only be effective and non-discriminatory “when fully vaccinated status is recognised for all travellers to the UK".

“Testing requirements for many remains costly and excessive, and a significant number of inbound markets for the UK will still remain unfairly treated.”

Updated: September 17th 2021, 8:09 PM
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