Now that the traffic light system is gone, what does it mean?
The Government announced big changes to travel restrictions as they scrapped the traffic light system which was first introduced back on the 17th May. From 4am on the 4th October the green and amber list were dropped leaving just the red list and the ‘rest of the world’. 54 countries and territories remain on the red list including popular destinations such as South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. However with another update expected tomorrow it’s thought that the red list could be coming down to as few as 9 countries. The list of red list countries can be found here
How does it change things for vaccinated people?
For vaccinated traveller’s coming from any of the ‘rest of the world’ countries it now means that they will no longer have to take a PCR or lateral flow before departing for the UK. They will still continue to have to take a PCR or lateral flow test on the second day they return (it is best to book this before you go on holiday). It is thought however that by the end of October they will not have to take a more expensive PCR test and can rely on a lateral flow test only. All travellers regardless of their vaccination status will still have to complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before they travel to the UK. You must be able to prove that you are fully vaccinated and your vaccine is from an accepted vaccination programme
What does that mean for unvaccinated people?
Unvaccinated travellers coming from non-red list countries will have to take a test before departing for the UK and when they arrive will have to quarantine at home for 10 days whilst also taking a day 2 and 8 test. You can however do the test to release scheme and leave quarantine on day 5 if your test is negative.
What happens with the red list?
The red list remains as countries who should not be visited “except in the most extreme of circumstances”. If you have been in a red list country in the last 10 days whatever your vaccination status you must take a PCR or lateral flow test before departing for the UK and complete a passenger locator form. Then when you arrive in the in UK you must self isolate in a quarantine hotel for 10 days, you can only stay in a government approved hotel and it must be paid for in advance. The rate for adults in the hotels are £2,285 for the 10, 11 night stay.
Other important information
These rule changes only apply to England. It is also important to remember to take into account the rules of the country you are travelling to. Whilst a country may not be on the red list, that country may not allow you in or require you to quarantine for a period of time when you arrive