UK’s Covid travel red list ‘to be slashed from 54 to 9 countries’

Government source says number of countries requirement stay in quarantine hotel to be cut back ‘substantially’ next week

Chris Baynes,Helen Coffey
Saturday 02 October 2021 23:23
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<p>South Africa is a key Christmas and New Year destination for UK holidaymakers</p>

South Africa is a key Christmas and New Year destination for UK holidaymakers

The UK’s travel red list is to be shrunk significantly to as few as nine countries within days, according to reports.

There are currently 54 nations on the list, which enforces strict quarantine rules and huge fees on travellers from regions deemed the highest Covid risk.

From Tuesday, the UK’s current green, amber and red categories will be streamlined to just two lists: red and Rest of World (ROW.)

The existing red list will continue to be updated every three weeks, with the next reshuffle expected on 7 October.

The government is reportedly planning to announce the list will be slashed next week, with South Africa, Brazil and Mexico all expected to be opened up for quarantine-travel, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

“We are expecting sharp reductions in the red list. It could be as few as nine countries left on the list,” a Whitehall source told the newspaper.

A second source quoted by the paper confirmed the red list was due to be cut back “substantially”.

All passengers who enter the UK from a red-list destination must pay thousands of pounds for a 10-day stint in a government-mandated quarantine hotel, a requirement which is to remain in place following the overhaul of the traffic light system.

Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from countries on the ROW will no longer have to take a pre-departure test before returning to the UK, though until late October they must still take a day two PCR test afterwards.

Unvaccinated arrivals must continue to take the pre-departure test, and will must self-isolate for 10 days upon entering the UK from all ROW countries.

Experts have previously predicted “wholesale movement” in the red list this time around, after many were disappointed at the dearth of countries promoted to amber at the last update.

“My information is that the cabinet was reluctant to appear to be too soft by allowing a whole host of countries off the red list when cases were still rising in the UK,” Covid data analyst Tim White told The Independent this week.

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