The UK will remove the last 7 countries from its Covid-19 travel ban red list on Nov 1 at 04:00 BST, announced the Transport Secretary on Thursday.
The move means that fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from Colombia, Peru, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, and Ecuador will no longer be required to hotel quarantine on arrival.
The news has been welcomed by travelers from these nations who have to pay some £2,200 per person for a 10-day mandatory quarantine at a government-designated hotel.
“Delta is now the dominant variant in most countries around the world. This means the risk of known variants entering the UK has reduced and the government can confidently remove these seven destinations from the red list,” announced the Department for Transport (DfT).
The UK acknowledges that the pandemic is far from over. So the list, which for now will be empty, will be revisited every three weeks in case some country needs to be put back on.
The DfT also said that the health department will continue monitoring variants of concern to ensure the UK remains safe.
Therefore, as a precautionary measure, the government will keep several hundred hotel rooms in case of an expected emergency and will maintain PCR testing “as the UK’s first line of defense”.
Emptying the red list was not the only important announcement.
The UK would add 30 countries’ vaccinations to the list of immunizations permitted for UK-bound visitors.
This means that thousands of travelers who are vaccinated but considered “unvaccinated” under the current entry restrictions will now be able to freely visit the country.
In order to boost its struggling travel industry, the United Kingdom plans to increase its vaccination rates.
“We now need to go further by removing testing altogether for the fully vaccinated, and committing to reviewing all restrictions by the end of the year,” said Tim Alderslade, chief executive of lobby group Airlines UK.
Whether this happens or not, will depend on the results of this new entry travel approach.