Travel red list scrapped and end to hotel quarantine but testing restrictions to stay

Covid: Travellers recall ‘stressful’ process of pre-travel tests

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The Government will remove every country from the red list at 4am on December 15. Travellers from red list countries currently have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps, tweeted: “From 4am on Wednesday 15 December, all 11 countries will be removed from England’s travel red list.

“All current testing measures remain in place and will be reviewed the first week of January.

“As always, we keep all our travel measures under review and we may impose new restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health.”

The countries currently on the red list include South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia and ZImbabwe.

The quarantine hotels have caused huge issues with some travelers struggling to book a room due to lack of space.

The scheme was also extremely expensive for travellers who had to pay more than £2,000 to quarantine.

Travel experts had criticised the scheme, while scientists had said it would have limited impact since Omicron is in the UK already.

The red list was reintroduced in the UK after the Omicron variant was identified in South Africa.

Paul Charles, CEO of the PC Agency, tweeted: “Confirmation that all 11 countries on the red list will be removed from 4am tomorrow.

“But testing measures which have hurt recovery will stay and only be reviewed in the first week of January.”

He added: “Anyone arriving from any of the 11 red list countries today will have to hotel quarantine until Christmas Day.

“If you get the chance to delay your flight to the UK then do so!”

There has yet been no clarity on whether people currently in hotel quarantine will be released early.

Sajid Javid told Parliament: “We won’t keep measures in place a moment longer than we need to.

“Now that there is transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad.

“So I can announce today that whilst we’ll maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel we will be removing all 11 countries from the red list effective from 4am tomorrow morning.”

Paul Goldstein of Africa Guide said: “I sincerely hope the Government is not expecting any thanks for this.

“Singlehandledly they have destroyed the Christmas/New year market for much of Africa as well as butchering confidence in the UK travel industry.”

British travellers must still take a pre-departure test before travelling to the UK and a PCR test on or before day two after arrival.

They must self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

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