UK travel update: Amber list scrapped

UK travel update: Amber list scrapped

The rules and regulations that surround travel, even for seasoned travellers, can be off-putting, and it’s creating pent-up demand. 

Those planning a long-awaited honeymoon or trip of a lifetime might see this latest travel update as a reason to hit the ‘book now’ button, though.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the travel traffic light system and testing will change as of today, 4th October 2021. 

In a Twitter post, Mr Shapps said that “We’re making testing easier for travel”.

A long-overdue simplification of travel rules, the announcement included scrapping the Amber list, taking eight countries off the red list, and changes to testing.

Travel rules from 4th October 2021

Travellers will be relieved to hear that the Amber list will be removed, leaving only ‘low-risk destinations’ and the existing red list from today, 4th October 2021.

Streamlining testing will also be welcome, with the removal of pre-departure tests for double-jabbed travellers arriving in England from low-risk destinations.

Going a step further, the government hopes to introduce a cheaper lateral flow test instead of the day 2 PCR test towards the end of October.

Hoping to “...strike the right balance to manage the public health risk as a No. 1 priority”, Mr Shapps is taking steps to address long-held concerns about testing cost and over-complicated travel systems while ensuring travel is safe.

Mr Shapps tweeted: “We’re making testing easier for travel. From Mon 4th October, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct, replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world - striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as a No.1 priority.

Countries off the travel Red list

Intrepid travellers and those with families overseas will be overjoyed to find out that Turkey, Egypt, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Kenya are now off the red list.

The travel traffic light system moving forward

Low-risk destinations will allow double-jabbed travellers to arrive at England’s airports without the need for a pre-departure test and will soon be able to take a cheaper lateral flow on day 2, making travel much more enjoyable.

Red list travel rules remain the same, with quarantine hotels at the traveller’s cost compulsory for ten days on return to England plus pre-departure, day 2, and day 8 PCR testing.  

Travellers will need to comply with the country of arrival’s rules, as these changes are for England only.

Scotland sets its own rules for managing travel safety but has followed the same simplification.

Book a holiday with more confidence

Stating that “this is a significant and welcome step towards recovery”, Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport CEO, responded to the announcement with a statement saying: 

Fully vaccinated passengers now have a larger choice of destinations and can book with more confidence in the months before Christmas and beyond -- free from the need to arrange pre-departure tests before coming back into the UK. We know there is significant pent-up demand for travel and our staff, restaurants, cafes and bars are ready to welcome back passengers over the coming months.

Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO and Chairman was also pleased with a statement saying that “We welcome the simplification of the traffic light system, and the changes to the testing requirements allowing UK travellers to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme and finally giving customers and business the confidence to book journeys they’ve been waiting for.”

Ensure that you check the current status of the country you plan to visit on the website before booking your flights.

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