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UK travel: Remaining red list countries set to be removed

Francesca Street, CNN

The UK plans to remove the seven countries remaining on its “red” travel list from November 1.

This follows the UK introducing a new system for international travel earlier this month, in which testing requirements were loosened for many fully vaccinated travelers and destinations were designated either “red” or “green.”

A week later, the UK removed 47 countries from the red list, leaving only seven red destinations: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

While there’s soon set to be zero countries on the UK’s red list, transport minister Grant Shapps, who announced the news on Twitter, said the list will remain “as a precautionary measure to protect public health” and that destinations could still be added to the red list if need be.

Green list rules

All UK arrivals, regardless of country of origin or vaccination status, must complete a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the UK.

Most fully vaccinated travelers to the UK from green list countries no longer need a pre-departure negative test. This rule also applies to travelers under 18.

All travelers from green list countries to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland must book and pay for a day two test.

In England, vaccinated travelers and most travelers under 18 may now opt for the cheaper lateral flow option as their day two test.

Free NHS lateral flow tests are not to be used, travelers must order the tests from private testing providers, with a list of applicable providers available here. Travelers have to upload a photo of their test and booking reference in order to verify their result.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland still currently require all travelers regardless of vaccination status to take a PCR test on day two. However Wales and Scotland are set to introduce day two lateral flows from October 31.

The Northern Irish government has yet to make an announcement on this.

Non-vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK from green list countries must still present a pre-departure negative test (completed within 72 hours of departure) and must book and pay for a day two and day eight PCR test.

Non-vaccinated green list travelers must also quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival in the UK, either at their home or at the relevant accommodation.

Non-vaccinated travelers quarantining in England may be able to end quarantine early via the Test to Release scheme. Test to Release does not apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The list of countries with UK-approved vaccination programs includes EU countries and the US. On October 11, more countries were added to this list, including Brazil and South Africa. See the full list here.

More countries are set to be added to this list on November 1, including Peru and Uganda.

Any destination not on the red list is considered green, but some green destinations don’t permit nonessential travel from the UK right now.

Red list requirements

Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will remain on the UK’s red list until November 1.

Until then, unless you’re a resident of England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland — or a British or Irish national — you’ll be refused entry arriving into the UK from one of these countries.

UK residents and British and Irish nationals arriving home from red list destinations must undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Bookings must be made through this online portal. The charge for a single adult occupying one room for 10 days is £2,285.

The UK’s quarantine hotels are located in England and Scotland, so if you arrive in the UK from a red list country and your final destination is in Wales or Northern Ireland, you will need to book a quarantine hotel in England or Scotland.

Red list arrivals dodging quarantine face steep fines.

While the UK is set to remove the remaining seven red list countries from the list on November 1, the red list is set to remain as a “precautionary measure.”

Red list countries (until November 1)

Colombia

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Haiti

Panama

Peru

Venezuela

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