U.K. to Remove All Seven Countries From Its Covid Red List
(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. removed all seven remaining countries from its Covid-19 red list, effectively ending a mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for any arriving travelers.
The highest-risk category will remain notionally in place to protect public health, and U.K. officials are prepared to add countries back if necessary, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Thursday on Twitter.
The seven countries -- Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Haiti, Panama, Ecuador and Peru -- will be removed on Nov. 1. The U.K. will also recognize vaccine certification from over 30 more countries and territories.
Hotel quarantine measures were first set in place in February as the U.K. sought to slow the import of new coronavirus variants after an outbreak last winter.
The changes to the red list will give people confidence to book trips, said Karen Dee, the chief executive officer of the Airport Operators Association. Accepting vaccination certification from more countries is a vital step toward restarting tourism to the U.K., she said.
The U.K. will now accept vaccination certificates from countries including Peru and Uganda, expanding the total to over 135, Shapps said. The nation was earlier criticized for its refusal to recognize vaccine certifications issued in a number of nations.
The 10-day stay at government-selected lodgings was required for all arrivals from red-list countries, regardless of vaccination status. As of Sept. 29, 203,360 people had gone through hotel isolation, which currently costs 2,285 pounds ($3,153) per person.
Despite rising case loads, the U.K. has stuck with a plan to move away from border policies based on country of origin, following the European Union and others in prioritizing vaccination status. The shift coincides with an inoculation program that’s now fully covered 68% of the population, based on Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.
Earlier in October, the U.K. removed 47 countries and territories from the red list. It also simplified its border-rule system by eliminating the middle or amber tier of its so-called traffic light system. People arriving from most countries who are fully vaccinated now require only an inexpensive lateral flow Covid-19 test two days after arrival, and no longer have to isolate.
The decision comes just days before the COP26 climate summit begins in Glasgow, Scotland, which will see delegates from across the world.
Airlines are adding capacity over the winter season, as more travel links reopen. With the U.S. due to lift its ban on visitors from the U.K., the EU and a number of other major markets, airlines are now optimistic that long-distance travel -- including the lucrative North Atlantic segment -- will soon ramp up.
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