UK eases travel restrictions further by slashing ‘red list’

  • Passengers arrive at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport on Aug. 2 in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON (AP) — The British government said Thursday that it is to relax travel rules further next week, a move that will open up many long-distance holiday destinations to travelers for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic a year and half ago.

As well as dramatically whittling down the number of places from which travelers will be required to quarantine in a hotel, the government said it would recognize the vaccination programs of dozens more countries.

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In its most dramatic move, it said it will be lifting the hotel quarantine requirement for arrivals to England from 47 countries, including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand. Though the announcement only relates to England, the other nations of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — have generally followed suit. After the change comes into effect on Monday, there will only be seven countries — Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela — on the so-called “red list,” which requires all passengers to enter hotel quarantine for 11 nights at a cost of $3,100 for travelers. The changes mean that anyone arriving from the 47 countries removed from the red list will be spared that requirement.

However, they will still need to take a series of coronavirus tests before and after their arrival, and go into self-isolation for ten days unless the British government recognizes a country’s vaccination status certificates and the vaccines used. It recognizes the vaccines of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson &Johnson, as well as their formulations such as AstraZeneca Covishield.

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Another 37 countries and territories will be added to that list from Monday, reducing entry requirements from countries like Brazil, Ghana, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

The decision means eligible fully vaccinated adults and under 18s entering England from these locations will in effect be treated like fully vaccinated British nationals. They will no longer have to take a pre-departure test, nor a test on the eighth day after arrival and will be spared the period of self-isolation.

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