Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said eight countries will move from the red list on 22 September and the rules for international travel to England will change on 4 October, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk
The current international travel traffic light system in England is being simplified with a single red list of countries, as part of an overhaul of the rules from next month.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also said eight countries will move from the red list on 22 September and the rules for international travel to England will change on 4 October.
Testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a PDT when travelling to England from Monday 4 October 4am.
From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.
The government wants to introduce this by the end of October, aiming to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
Under the new testing regime, Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. Test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period.
From 4 October, England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from a host of new countries – who will be treated like returning fully vaccinated UK travellers – including 17 countries and territories such as Japan and Singapore, following the success of an existing pilot with the US and Europe.
“Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry,” Grant Shapps said.
“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than 8 in 10 adults vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape,” he added.
Conducting the final regular traffic light review before the switch to the new two-tiered system, several additional countries and territories will move off the red list – Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.
These changes will come into effect at 4am Wednesday 22 September.
Meanwhile, passengers who aren’t recognised as being fully vaccinated with authorised vaccines and certificates under England’s international travel rules, will still have to take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test and self-isolate for 10 days upon their return from a non-red list country under the new two-tiered travel programme.
“Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to make changes from late October to allow passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey to follow the measures associated to their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.
Javid has genome sequenced
Sajid Javid visited Great Ormond Street Hospital on Friday to provide a blood sample for a genomic sequencing programme aimed at tackling disparities in health.
Genomics England’s Diverse Data Initiative is working in collaboration with researchers and the NHS to ensure their life-changing work to sequence genomes benefits everyone, regardless of their ethnic socioeconomic or geographic background.
His data will be analysed by researchers to help speed up diagnoses and develop new treatments for patients with cancer and rare diseases as part of ongoing efforts to make healthcare more diverse and inclusive.
Javid said he was extremely proud to be taking part in the study which is “helping make sure that everyone, no matter their background, can benefit from our world-leading genomic research programmes.”
“Genomics England’s vital initiative will sequence the genomes of those who are under-represented in research data so that we can develop better treatments and transform healthcare for all,” he added.