Tue | Nov 30, 2021

UK eases travel, takes all countries off virus ‘red list’

Published:Thursday | October 28, 2021 | 2:20 PM
In this Monday, August 2, 2021 file photo, a passenger arrives from a flight at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

LONDON (AP) — Britain on Thursday said it was removing the last seven countries on its travel “red list,” meaning travellers vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel after arriving in the United Kingdom.

The countries are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Once the change takes effect at 4 a.m. (0400GMT) on Monday, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of more than 2,000 pounds.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the red category would remain “as a precautionary measure” in case it was needed later.

He said Britain will also recognise vaccinations given in more than 30 additional countries, including Peru and Uganda, bringing the total to more than 135.

At one time there were dozens of countries on the red list, with other nations classed as amber, for medium risk, or green for low risk.

Britain scrapped the amber and green categories on October 4 and removed most countries from the red list three weeks ago.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said the latest move was “a welcome and a significant step forward to normalising international travel.”

The UK government only makes health policy for England, but Scotland and Wales said they would mirror the changes.

The Welsh government expressed concern, however, that the change increased the chances of a new, more severe or vaccine-resistant strain of the coronavirus reaching the UK.

Britain has had one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with more than 140,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

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