Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced sweeping changes to the traffic light system for foreign travel – with the amber list scrapped, the red list cut down and new freedoms for double-jabbed Brits who do not to have to get a PCR test
Sweeping changes to the travel rules are coming into force to allow families a sunshine getaway over the October half term.
The amber list will be scrapped from October 4 to simplify the advice into “go” and “no go” destinations – the red list on the one hand, and “rest of the world” on the other.
And the red list will be slimmed down, reducing the number of countries from which arrivals need to spend 10 days in a Government-approved quarantine hotel.
Eight countries will be removed from the red list from 4am on Wednesday 22 September, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives.
Double-vaccinated passengers arriving from non-red-list countries will no longer have to take day 2 PCR tests from a date later in October – but will have to take another type of test instead.
From October 4 however they will no longer have to take a pre-departure test at all.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the plans, which were signed off by Cabinet ministers on Friday morning.
He tweeted: “From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.
“In addition, EIGHT countries and territories will come off the red list from Weds 22 Sept at 4am, incl. TURKEY, PAKISTAN and MALDIVES.
“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct, replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority.”
The Government had pledged to do a formal review of the rules on foreign travel before October 1.
The regular three-weekly update of which destinations are designated green, amber and red had been due on Thursday but it was delayed by the Cabinet reshuffle.
The changes will apply to England, but the devolved administrations usually take similar decisions when it comes to foreign travel.
Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the industry body, said: “This is a positive step which moves us much closer to the reopening of UK aviation and provides greater reassurance to passengers desperate to travel.
“By reducing the number of red list destinations and scrapping PCR testing, ministers have paved the way for people to get away this October half-term and into the winter following 18 months of uncertainty.
“It will provide a real shot in the arm for a sector that until now has not been allowed to trade properly.”
But he warned that day 2 testing meant the UK remained an outlier across Europe.