Amber list scrapped as simplified travel rules come into force

4 October 2021, 07:49 | Updated: 4 October 2021, 07:57

International travel will be simpler and cheaper from today
International travel will be simpler and cheaper from today. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The amber travel list has been scrapped as the latest update to England's travel rules comes into force.

Locations will now be classed as either on the red list or not, and fully vaccinated residents - and unvaccinated under 18s - from more than 50 destinations can enter the UK without completing a pre-departure lateral flow test, a day-eight PCR test or a period of self-isolation.

Just a single day-two post-arrival test will be needed.

It comes amid reports the number of countries on the red list will be slashed to nine from 54 later in the week, with destinations such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa expected to be opened up to quarantine-free travel.

The day-two PCR test is also set to be replaced with a cheaper lateral flow test.

Although a date for this change is still yet to be confirmed, the Department for Transport said the Government "aims to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK was "accelerating" towards more free travel, and today's changes were possible because of the high vaccination rate.

"We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today's rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector," he said.

"Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery."

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People arriving from a red tier destination will still be required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.

The easing of the quarantine and testing regulations, announced last month, has been welcomed by airlines and tour operators, who have previously accused the Government of being too slow to relax and simplify the rules for international travel.

"Things are moving in the right direction and the removal of these restrictions will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel," said Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, a trade body representing UK carriers.

"We've seen a good response to the announcement in terms of bookings and, given current trends, we would hope to see more countries come off the red list and further mutual recognition of vaccine status.

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"There is still much to do though. This is not job done, and ministers need to keep in mind that we remain an outlier on arrivals testing for vaccinated passengers.

"In the short-term the removal of PCR testing by the October half-term week is critical, and we look forward to clarity on the start date for this as soon as possible."