Home WorldEuropeUnited KingdomEngland New Covid travel rules: Traffic light system scrapped and PCR tests to be phased out

New Covid travel rules: Traffic light system scrapped and PCR tests to be phased out

by Sharron Livingston

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has revealed his new system for international travel to apply to double jabbed travellers returning to England.

The traffic light system

The cumbersome traffic light system will disappear altogether. 

From 4 October, the amber list will be ditched and countries will be classed as Red – those countries that are unsafe to travel to or Open – the rest of the world.

PCR Tests to be phased out for vaccinated travellers

Currently, anyone wishing to return to England has to take a pre-departure “fit to fly” test to enter. From 4 October, fully-vaccinated travellers will no longer have to do so.

Expensive PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers will be phased out by the end of October for the day twp return from a non-red country. Instead, travellers will be able to take the cheaper lateral flow test.

Unvaccinated travellers, however, will still have to take the PCR test and quarantine at home for 10 days on arrival into the UK from non-red countries – that is, those on the “rest of world” list.

Arrivals from Red countries will still have to quarantine in hotels.

Grant Shapps tweeted:

“Now we’ve got so many people vaccinated, perhaps nine out of 10 adults, it does give us some additional freedoms.

“And one of those is that we can drop the pre-departure tests.

“Another is that we can drop the expensive PCR tests on day two when people got back from abroad.

“But we will still require people to buy and use a lateral flow test.”

Red list countries

There are currently 62 countries on the Red List. From 4am on 22 September, eight will be removed. This means Britons will be able to visit them without facing hotel quarantine upon their return.

These are: Turkey, Pakistan, Oman, Maldives, Bangladesh, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Egypt. 

The government may move more countries to Open in the next few weeks. However, the ten-day hotel quarantine at the cost of up to £2,285 per person will remain in place for countries still on the red list.

Which countries are on the Red List?

Britons returning from “red list” countries must quarantine in a designated hotel. According to transport secretary Grant Shapps, red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

Click here for the full list of Red countries

Passenger locator form

There have been no changes to the Passenger Locator Form, and all travellers must complete this.

The transport secretary said the new travel rules would remain in place “at least until the new year,” giving some hope for the travel industry’s recovery.

You don’t need to be jabbed in the UK

The UK government will also recognise full vaccinations from a further 17 countries and territories including Japan and Singapore.

Airlines UK said it was a “shot in the arm” that ” moves us much closer to the reopening of UK aviation”.

These changes apply onto to England. The Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments have often followed the UK government’s rules during the pandemic. Wales said it would “carefully consider” the proposed changes.



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