Travel rules explained: Which countries are on the red list and when will PCR tests end?

7 October 2021, 21:51

Only seven countries are left on the red list.
Only seven countries are left on the red list. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The red travel list will be slashed down to seven countries from Monday - find out which destinations are left on the list and how changes will impact holidays.

The changes to the travel rules come after the Government previously scrapped the traffic light system in favour of a single list of red countries.

The new rules will be introduced from 4am on Monday 11 October and will see just seven countries left on the red list.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the measures would "mark the next step" as the country continued to make its way out of the Covid pandemic, providing "stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good".

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Which countries are on the red list?

The Government announced on Thursday that 47 countries would be cut from the red list for travel, leaving only seven destinations under the category.

The countries left on the list are:

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Do you still need a PCR test?

Plans are in place for day two PCR tests to be replaced with lateral flow tests by the end of October.

The Government said its "ambition" was for to have it in place "for people returning from half-term breaks by the end of the month".

Passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down.

However, if individuals test positive then a free PCR test will be sent so they can confirm their result.

What do you need to do when arriving in England?

The Government is set to recognise vaccines for arrivals from a further 37 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

Visitors from those countries will be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England.

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

Only a day two test will need to be taken upon arrival.

Does the rule change apply to the rest of the UK?

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all followed suit with the government's decision to cut down the red list.

Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey added that the red list would be "carefully monitored" and Scotland "will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions" to protect public health in the nation.

Meanwhile, Welsh health minister Eluned Morgan said her Government had urged Mr Shapps to take a "more precautionary approach" to international travel but will keep her nation's restrictions in line with England's for reasons of practicality.

"We are concerned about the cumulative impact of the risk being carried in relation to opening up travel particularly from higher risk countries," she said.

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"This includes the radical reduction in the number of red list countries and the suggestion the UK Government is contemplating considerably relaxing the rules around quarantine from red list countries and introducing the use of lateral flow tests for returning travellers.

"All of these measures, when taken together, considerably increase the risk of a new variant being introduced into Wales and the UK."