Ministers are getting rid of the complex traffic light system and having just two lists for travel – red and green.
Ministers announced today, September 17, are getting rid of the complex traffic light system and having just two lists for travel, a red list and a “rest of the world” green list.
The current amber list will be added to the “rest of the world” list and double jabbed travellers can go on holiday without quarantining.
Eight of the 62 countries that are on the red list at the moment will be taken off today, hopefully taking more off in the coming weeks.
After 18 months of strict overseas travel rules, ministers also announced today that they are getting rid of expensive PCR tests for vaccinated travellers as of October 4.
Double-jabbed Brits will be able to take a lateral flow test instead on the day of their return, which will make their holiday around £100 cheaper.
Pre-departure tests will also no longer be needed, as confirmed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps this evening.
He praised the changes for “making testing easier to travel” and “striking the right balance to manage the public health risk”.
Speculation ahead of the announcement today sparked an increase in bookings as travel companies scrambled to lay on more flights.
Earlier today, Downing Street warned that the freedoms could be snatched back if a mutant variant threatens the Covid recovery.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said: “We are aware that the pandemic is still ongoing and there is always a chance of unexpected challenges such as an even more transmissible or more deadly variant emerging.
“That said, because of the success of our vaccine programme, it is enabling us to move steadily and remove restrictions as we saw as we came out of Step 4.”
He added: “While we have seen the slow easing of restrictions on travel” it would be “wrong to rule anything out in the future”.
A Department for Transport spokesman said earlier: “Our top priority is to protect public health – decisions on our traffic light system are kept under regular review and are informed by the latest risk assessment from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and wider public health factors.”
Labour’s shadow minister Sarah Jones “We want travel to open up as safely and as quickly as possible.
“We’ve been calling for ages for the amber list to be scrapped, which has been touted in the papers today because it always added to confusion – people never quite understood what the system was.
“And we’ve been calling for a proper process to work out an international vaccine passport so we can get people safely moving around.”
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