The government of the UK has removed all countries from its red travel list. Several countries were added to the red list for travel as a result of the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, but the list was cleared following a review of the policy by the government. The move means that there will be no more mandatory hotel quarantine for any arrivals into the UK, though existing testing measures are set to remain.
In other major travel news, the British government voted in favor of introducing vaccine passports in the UK, which is set to have a significant impact on the way travelers heading to the UK enjoy their time in the country. Here’s everything you need to know about the red list being cleared once more, plus travelers should know about the incoming vaccine passport requirements in the UK.
UK Removes Red List Countries – Information For Travelers
At the height of the pandemic, the UK’s travel red list was updated regularly as the country reacted to the threat of Covid-19 being imported from other countries. Those arriving from red list countries had to stay in pricey mandatory hotel quarantine facilities and face regular testing for the virus to ensure that they were completely clear of the virus once they were released from the facility and allowed to explore the UK.
Whilst the UK went months without countries on the travel red list as a result of cases falling throughout the world, the final days of November saw several countries added to the red list as a result of the rise of the Omicron variant. Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe all found themselves on the list once more in recent weeks as the British government reacted to the new threat.
However, travelers will be relieved to know that from today, the travel red list will be wiped clean – meaning no inbound travelers will have to worry about the threat of hotel quarantine. British Health Secretary Sajid Javid explained that the move was taken due to the fact that community transmission of Omicron has been ongoing in the UK and the variant has already spread around the world, making the red list travel measures less effective.
The community transmission rates of Omicron have also led the UK to adopt controversial new “vaccine passport” measures. Yesterday in Parliament, following rigorous debate, the introduction of the wider use of the NHS Covid Pass was passed by members of Parliament, along with a range of other measures designed to keep those in the UK safe against Covid-19.
The following measures that will affect travelers were passed yesterday:
- Over-18s in England must prove they are fully vaccinated or have a recent negative lateral flow test to enter a number of large venues, such as nightclubs, from today
- Daily lateral flow tests for fully vaccinated people who come into contact with Covid-19 cases, instead of isolation
- Continue making the use of face masks compulsory in a wider range of venues
The new testing and vaccination requirements apply to nightclubs and other indoor unseated venues that have a capacity of more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues that hold more than 4,000 people and any venue that has more than 10,000 people. Travelers from abroad who are unable to get the NHS Covid Pass can prove their status in other ways, such as a vaccine certificate, EU Digital Covid Certificate or the CDC vaccination card for those from the US.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories