UK Travel Red List Reduced to Just 7 Countries

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
October 8, 2021 Updated: October 8, 2021

The UK has further relaxed its COVID-19 travel restrictions, bringing its travel “red list” down to just seven destinations.

From 0300 GMT on Oct. 11, 47 countries and territories including South Africa, Mexico, and Thailand will be removed from the red list, the government confirmed on Thursday.

Passengers returning to England from these destinations will no longer be required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 ($3,110) for solo travellers.

Only seven countries—Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela—still remain on the red list.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland set their own travel rules but have recently mirrored announcements made in Westminster.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “With half-term and winter sun around the corner, we are making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe.”

“Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery,” he said.

Eligible fully-vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from countries and territories not on the red list will only be required to get a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus test on day 2 after their arrival.

Passengers returning from a non-red destination who are not fully-vaccinated must still take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 test, and spend 10 days in self-isolation.

Shapps also announced that the UK would recognise vaccines for arrivals from a further 37 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey.

The decision means fully-vaccinated people entering England from these locations will be exempt from quarantine, the pre-departure test, and the day 8 post-arrival test.

British Airways announced it will resume services and increase frequencies to a number of winter sun destinations being removed from the red list, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The airline’s chief executive Sean Doyle said: “It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel.

“Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully-vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.”

PA contributed to this report.