UK drops travel red list for all countries

The removal of all countries from its red list has also eliminated the need for travellers to hotel quarantine in the United Kingdom.
Uk red list
The United Kingdom scraps its travel red list. Image: Canva Pro.

The United Kingdom has decided to scrape its travel red list for restricted travellers from all the remaining countries, starting today. The European country took this decision after a review of the latest risk assessment from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The red list included Eswatini, Angola, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. These countries were in the list due to the increasing cases of Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus across Europe. The announcement also means that passengers from these countries do not need to undergo hotel quarantine upon arrival in the UK, which was made mandatory earlier. The passengers who have had booked a hotel room in managed quarantine after 4 am on December 15, will receive full refund.

The official statement by the UK government, said, “As Omicron cases rise in the UK and countries around the world, the travel red list is less effective in slowing the incursion of the variant from abroad and these temporary measures are no longer proportionate. The red list has served its purpose in delaying the spread of Omicron into the UK to buy time for the government to learn more about this variant and prepare for its potential impact.”

Uk red list
RT-PCR tests are mandatory for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK. Image: Canva Pro.

The UK is of the view that it is important to continue with the testing in order to protect the citizens, and curb any additional cases of the new Omicron virus. The country has hence decided to continue with the pre-departure test, two days before arrival, making RT-PCR tests mandatory for all vaccinated passengers. One also requires to self-isolate till they receive a negative report of the test. The pre-departure test rule also applies for unvaccinated passengers, along with an RT-PCR test on the second and eighth day, while self-isolating for a total of ten days.

According to Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary of the country, “Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel Red List is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad. While we’ll maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all eleven countries from the travel red list.” The country is now focussing on booster vaccines for all resident adults.

Read more.

International destinations opening for Indian travellers? Here’s all you need to know