Beginning Monday, the UK will remove the remaining seven countries from its COVID-19 travel ban red list, which will be reviewed every three weeks and revised in case of emerging COVID variant threats, the British government has announced.
From 4am on Monday, the remaining seven destinations on the UK’s COVID-19 travel ban red list – Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela – will be removed, it said in an update on Thursday.
The red list itself has not been scrapped and will be reviewed every three weeks, with restrictions imposed in case of emerging COVID variant threats.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said that Delta is now the dominant COVID variant in most countries around the world, which means the risk of known variants entering the UK has reduced.
“This is another step in the right direction for international travel with more good news today for passengers, businesses and the travel sector,” said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“Whether it’s reuniting family members or making it easier for businesses to trade, the success of the vaccine rollout both at home and abroad has allowed us to reach this milestone. However, we must not be complacent and remain ready to spring into action and defend our hard-won gains if needed,” he said.
The travel regulations between India and the UK for fully vaccinated passengers had been eased earlier this month, with Covishield-vaccinated Indians not required to undergo self-isolation at a declared address on entry into Britain.
Travellers coming from red list countries continued to be subjected to a mandatory 10-day quarantine at a government-sanctioned facility. The latest update means travellers vaccinated with UK-recognised vaccines will all face similar international travel rules.
“The red list and quarantine remain vital in protecting our borders – we are keeping a small number of quarantine rooms on standby and will not hesitate to take swift action by adding countries to the red list if the risk increases again,” said UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
The DfT said government scientists will continue to closely monitor variants of concern in order to ensure the UK’s approach remains “proportionate”, surveillance through regular testing continuing throughout.
Meanwhile, under rules effective since October 24, fully vaccinated travellers returning to England from countries not on the travel ban red list – including India – can use a COVID negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT) instead of the more expensive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
All travellers must complete a compulsory passenger locator form prior to travel, including providing a test booking reference number supplied by a testing provider.
Passengers who are not fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine must still take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 test and complete 10 days self-isolation on entry to the UK.
It comes as the UK recorded 39,842 coronavirus cases on Thursday, reflecting a downward trend over the last few days having crossed 50,000 daily cases last week.