The remaining seven countries on the UK government’s Covid travel red list will be removed from next Monday.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Haiti and Venezuela will no longer need to be quarantined in a hotel.
But the red list system will be kept in place and a country could be added back onto it if cases arise there.
The changes will apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland should also adopt the change.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said this is a “big boost for travel and all those people employed in the travel industry.”
He added: “We have been able to do this now because the variants of concern we monitored no longer affect medical directors.”
The Department of Transport (DfT) said “Delta is now the dominant variant in most countries of the world. This means that the risk of known variants entering the UK has been reduced and the government can confidently remove these seven destinations from the UK. red list “.
Other countries are also added to the list of nations and territories whose vaccinations against Covid are recognized by the United Kingdom, taking it to more than 135 locations in total.
The change will take effect at 04:00 BST on Monday and will apply to passengers arriving in England, Wales and Scotland.
No announcement has been made from Northern Ireland, but has followed the changes in the DfT in recent months.
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The DfT said the red list would be reviewed every three weeks, with data – including the emergence of new variants – monitored in case countries were to be added again.
Shapps said the redlist system itself would be revised again in the new year, but it was “prudent” for the government to keep several hundred hotel rooms available on “standby”.
“We don’t want to reset a system from scratch if a particular concern was found in a particular country and we wanted to be able to have quarantine as a mandatory facility,” he said.
Scottish Transport Minister Graeme Dey said the move will help the tourism sector “take another step back to normal operations”.
But he said: “The pandemic is not over. The situation will be carefully monitored and reviewed regularly and if the situation demands it we will not hesitate to reintroduce the restrictions.”
Wales said the changes “are not without risk” and remained “concerned” at the speed at which international travel is opening.
Over the next two weeks, quarantined hotels will empty.
For many with family and friends in the seven remaining red-listed countries, it will be a relief.
But for the travel industry, it’s mostly a symbolic move. The announcement won’t make a big difference on the number of flights arriving in the UK – the red list had already shrunk dramatically earlier this month.
Instead, the industry sees it as further reassurance that the journey is opening, not closing. For the first time this year, no matter where you come from in the world, if you are recognized as fully vaccinated you will not have to go into quarantine.
However, the government has not completely ruled out quarantined hotels in the future should the global situation change.
Pandemic travel rules in the UK were simplified earlier this month as the amber list was completely scrapped and anti-holiday advice changed for many countries.
Fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from countries that include all EU nations, the US, Australia, India, Pakistan, UAE and Hong Kong only need to have a lateral flow test on arrival. Arrivals in Scotland and Wales are currently required to have the most expensive PCR test, although this will change on Sunday.
People over the age of 18 who are not fully vaccinated or arriving from a country not on the approved vaccination list must self-isolate at home for 10 days after arriving in the UK and pay for a PCR or blood test. lateral flow in the three days before the trip to the UK and two tests after the return.
The countries on the red list are those that the government says should not be visited “except in the most extreme circumstances”. The list was introduced as part of measures to reduce the potential risk of coronavirus-infected travelers.
Travelers arriving from a red list destination were required to self-isolate at a government-designated hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £ 2,285.
More than 200,000 people have been quarantined in hotels since February.
The now abandoned amber list applied to countries where infections were not considered as serious. It initially required passengers to quarantine at home after their arrival, but this restriction was later dropped for fully vaccinated when the lockdown restrictions ended in July.
Tim Alderslade of the UK Airlines industry said the announcement “should provide additional reassurance to passengers as we approach the key Christmas and January booking window.”
He added: “Now we need to go further by removing fully vaccinated testing altogether and pledging to review all restrictions by the end of the year.”
Gary Lewis, of the Travel Network Group representing independent travel companies, said the industry “will breathe a sigh of relief … We hope this move will help build customer trust and reassure people that they can book travel and travel. “.
But Clive Wratten, head of the Business Travel Association, said “the lurking threat of further introductions to this list and the continuing existence of quarantined hotels means it doesn’t give travelers the confidence they need.”
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said there was “no justification” for keeping the red list, adding, “The best approach is to check an individual’s vaccine status and make sure that it is up-to-date if you wish. travel without restrictions “.
Consumer group Which? advised travelers to be aware that the changes reflect only requirements for returning to the UK and may still face restrictions on entry to some destinations, especially if they have not been fully vaccinated.
Covid cases in the UK have been on the rise since late September, although there are now signs of a small decline. The UK recorded another 39,842 cases on Thursday, and there were 165 deaths of people with 28 days of positive testing.
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