No green list for the Canaries but new UK system will make travel easier
Yesterday the Transport Secretary for the UK Government, Grant Shapps, announced a simplified system for international travel in light of the success of the UK’s domestic vaccine rollout, providing greater stability for industry and passengers. The current traffic light system will be replaced by a ‘Go list’ and a ‘Red list’ of countries and territories which will continue to be crucial in order to protect public health, and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world from Monday 4th October at 4am.
Testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a pre-departure test when travelling to England from that day onwards from either Go or Red list countries, although a day 2 PCR test is still required on their return home at the moment.
However, unvaccinated passengers from Go list countries will still have to take pre-departure tests, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test, and self isolate for 10 days on their return. Test to release will remain as an option with an additional day 5 test to shorten their self-isolation period.
All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel, and should continue to check GOV.UK travel guidance including FCDO travel advice before, during and after travel to keep up to date with entry requirements and ensure compliance with the latest COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 regulations for the country being visited.
From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England. The government wants to introduce this by the end of October, aiming to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
From October 4th, England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from a host of new countries who will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK travellers, including 17 countries and territories such as Japan and Singapore, following the success of an existing pilot with the US and Europe.
Grant Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry. Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than 80% of adults vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”
As part of the third Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review, today’s update reiterates the government’s focus on protecting its borders from the most dangerous variants and ensures continuity for industry and passengers for the remainder of the year. The UK will look to set out a further review for their international travel policy early in the New Year to provide further certainty for the spring and summer 2022 seasons.
Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad. As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace.”