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UK changes covid rule for double jabbed passengers from non-red countries

The United Kingdom has abolished its three-tier classification of countries for the purpose of determining how passengers returning are treated when they come back to the UK.

Those who are double vaccinated are exempt from self-isolation when returning from a country not on the red list. Children under 18 who are UK residents or from one of the approved countries are also exempt from self-isolation. The approved covid vaccinations required to qualify are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen

The so-called traffic light system which grouped countries into green, amber and red, has now been officially been scrapped under the new travel rules which came into force at 4 am on October 4.

The number of countries on the UK red list is currently 54, and it excludes Nigeria, but the list will be continually reviewed. It has been widely reported that the list will be cut to just nine destinations later this week.

Countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa remain on the red list but are expected to be removed shortly.

Read Also: COVID-19: Nigeria not on UK travel red list – NPHCDA

Chief executive of Airlines UK, Tim Alderslade, said: “Things are moving in the right direction and the removal of these restrictions will make it easier and cheaper for people to travel.

“We’ve seen a good response to the announcement in terms of bookings and given current trends we would hope to see more countries come off the red list and further mutual recognition of vaccine status.”

People arriving from a red list destination still will have to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel which will cost £2,285 for solo travellers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses, and the travel sector.

“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.”

Those traveling to or from a red list country will have to take a pre-departure test, plus a PCR test on day two and eight of their return to the UK.

For those travelling to/ or from any other country, they no longer need to take a pre-departure test if you’ve been full vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US, or 18 other recognised countries. You’ll only need to take a day two PCR test on return if you’re double jabbed.

Later this month, fully vaccinated passengers with a recognised certificate from a country not on the red list will be able to replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test, the government has announced. “The government aims to have this in place for when people return from half-term breaks,” the website says.

Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

The unvaccinated would still have to take a pre-departure test, and PCR tests on days two and eight of return.

Travellers may also need to arrange more tests depending on requirements of their destination country and airline.

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