UK travel Covid red list reduced to zero in holidays boost ahead of Christmas

·2 min read
UK travel Covid red list reduced to zero in holidays boost ahead of Christmas

The UK removed all seven remaining countries on the travel “red list” ahead of the Xmas holidays.

Grant Shapps confirmed the good news in a boost for holidaymakers ahead of the festive season in a tweet on Thursday.

The seven countries will be dropped from the list from next week on Monday November 1 at 4am.

The Secretary of State for Transport wrote: “UPDATE: All seven remaining countries on the red list will be REMOVED from Mon 1 Nov at 4am.”

The seven red list countries set to come off the list are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Arrivals from those countries are currently required to confine themselves to ten days of hotel quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per person.

The red list will reportedly be maintained as a “lever” for ministers in the future should they feel the need to protect the UK from another dangerous variant.

The Times reported thousands of hotel rooms would remain on standby.

Earlier in October the government dramatically slashed the red list from 54 countries to just seven, opening up travel to a host of popular holiday destinations such as South Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said there was “no justification now for any country to be on a red list or for hotel quarantine to be in existence”.

“There have been no new variants of concern since May and countries are now learning that blanket border measures, such as blocking whole countries, don’t work,” he said.

“The best approach is to check for an individual’s vaccine status and ensure they are up to date if they want to travel without restrictions.

“It’s encouraging that the UK Government have finally cottoned on to this.

“The current seven countries on the red list, such as Panama and Colombia, will be delighted if they are taken off it later today.”

Britain’s relatively high Covid infection rate led Morocco to announce a travel ban on the UK last week.

It came into effect at 11.59pm on Wednesday, October 21, spoiling the half-term holiday plans of thousands of families and leaving UK travellers in Morocco “in limbo” as they tried to find a flight home.

The move has led to speculation about whether other countries will follow suit.

Another country opening up to travel is the US, which will lift its severe restrictions on the UK and the rest of Europe, as well as China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil, on November 8.

President Joe Biden on Monday signed an order imposing new vaccine requirements for most foreign national air travelers and ending the effective travel ban, which has been in place since early 2020.

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