The United Kingdom has removed 47 destinations from its travel red list, which has been narrowed down to just seven nations, all of them within Latin America and four from South America, it was announced Thursday.
Effective Oct. 11 only travel to/from Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic will be subject to stricter sanitary restrictions.
In regional terms, the new decision places the entire Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) plus Chile and Bolivia outside the red group.
According to the new rules, eligible vaccinated passengers “arriving from rest of world countries only need to take a day 2 test in England and will be able to just send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive,” the British Government sdaid in a statement.
The new regulations also make it easier for Britons to travel abroad to a larger number of countries and territories, since passengers returning to England from these destinations will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine.
“The continued progress on vaccination both at home and around the world means government can confidently reduce the size of the red list to focus on countries which pose the highest risk, informed by UK Health Security Agency’s (UKHSA) assessment,” the staement went on.
“Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under 18s returning from countries and territories not on the red list, can do so with just a day 2 test,” the document also explained.
Passengers “who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine returning from a non-red destination must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5),” it added.
Starting Oct. 11 at 4am, eligible travelers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, “so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England,” the document pointed out.
By the same token, “passengers who are not an eligible traveller with an authorised vaccine arriving from a rest of world destination must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation (with the option of Test to Release on day 5).”
“The latest travel update builds on the announcement from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office earlier this week that it has lifted advice against all but essential travel for over 30 countries and territories. More advisories will be removed as countries and territories come off the red list, making it easier for people to be covered by insurance while on journeys to a wider list of destinations,” the British Government argued.
“With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.
“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery,” he added.
Meanwhile, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that “our robust border measures have helped protect the phenomenal progress of our vaccination program, and it is because of this success both here and around the world that we can safely open up travel further and we can visit friends and family abroad.”
“We’re now making it easier and cheaper for people to travel by allowing fully vaccinated travelers from non-red list countries to use lateral flow tests on day 2 of arrival, as long as they provide proof of use,” he went on.
The change to restrictions builds on the recent simplification of international travel rules, including the removal of pre-departure testing for eligible fully vaccinated travellers implemented earlier this week.
Regardless of these announcements, Government scientists “will continue to engage with countries still on the red list and keep the evidence on variants of concern, especially Lambda and Mu, under close review in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains proportionate,” the authorities said. They also vowed to keep up border surveillance through testing and genomic sequencing, so that a rapid response can be delivered should it become necessary.
“The data for all countries and territories will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes,” The British Government also announced.