Due to changes in the travel rules, the traffic light system has been removed.
This is the new situation for those who want to arrive from abroad:
– What has changed?
The orange and green lists are gone. Starting October 4, countries and territories will be categorized as red or rest of the world.
– Which countries are on the red list?
The red list currently consists of 54 places, including Thailand, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The full list is on gov.uk.
There are reports that the number of red-list countries could be reduced to nine later in the week, and destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa are expected to open to quarantine-free travel.
– What if I come from a red list country?
People arriving from a red destination will still have to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel, which costs £2,285 for solo travellers.
– And what about those places that are not on the red list?
The latest change merges the amber and green list countries into a ‘rest of the world’ area, lifting previous travel regulations.
Passengers returning from locations that are not on the red list do not need to be quarantined at all.
– What was the system before?
A risk-based traffic light system determined the testing and quarantine requirements for arrivals in the UK, with countries sorted into green, orange and red categories.
Green meant no quarantine and one test after arrival, orange meant a 10-day home quarantine and two tests after arrival, while red meant hotel quarantine and two tests.
– So what are the testing requirements now?
Fully vaccinated residents – and unvaccinated under 18s – from more than 50 countries and territories not on the red list can now enter England without having to take a lateral flow test before departure, a day 8 post-arrival PCR. test which costs about £65, or at home in isolation.
Instead, only one day two test after arrival is required.
Under 11s were already exempt from pre-departure testing.
– What does fully vaccinated mean?
Passengers who have received a full course of vaccinations approved in the UK, or the EMA or Swissmedic in Europe, or the FDA in the United States, are already recognized as fully vaccinated.
The government has further expanded inbound vaccination policies to an additional 18 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Canada.
– Are there any other changes to be expected?
Yes. Later this month, eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognized certificate from a country not on the red list will be able to replace their PCR test on day two with a cheaper lateral flow test.
The change is intended to reduce the cost of tests on arrival in England.
– When does this come into effect?
The government said it aims to make this change for when people return from a holiday.
– What is the reaction to the changes from the travel industry?
The easing of quarantine and testing regulations has been welcomed by this sector, which has been hit hard during the pandemic.
Industry figures had previously accused the government of being too slow in easing and simplifying international travel rules.
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, a trade association representing British airlines, said things are “moving in the right direction” and that the changes “will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel”.
– What is the situation in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland?
Stormont ministers have agreed to abolish the pre-departure test requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals from countries not on the red list, from 4 October.
Travelers must book and pay for a PCR test on day two which must be taken on or before day two after their arrival in Northern Ireland.
The Scottish government had refused to change its testing regime, saying a negative test before departure would still be required and travelers from abroad who have been vaccinated would still need to provide a negative PCR test on the second day after their arrival.
But last month it announced that after “extensive engagement” with aviation industry stakeholders, the Scottish Government had “reluctantly concluded that, for practical reasons, coordination with the UK is the best option”, meaning tests before departure are not required and that it also intends to be ‘compliant with the UK post-arrival testing regime’.
The Prime Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, accused the Westminster government of endangering the country’s health by scrapping day two PCR tests, and urged a ‘more precautionary approach’ to prevent new strains of the coronavirus entering the country.