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When is the next travel update? Government set to review red list destinations

When is the next travel update? Government set to review red list destinations
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Covid-19 has changed the way we think about travel, as many destinations have been off-limits to Brits since the pandemic began. But things are now starting to change for the better, with the government recently removing 47 countries from its travel ‘red list’. So when is the next travel update due?

What are the current travel rules?

As of 11 October, there are now just seven countries on the UK’s list of high-risk countries, all of which are in the Americas. They are:

  • Colombia
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

Anyone arriving in England from these countries will have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status. This will come at a cost of £2,200 for solo travellers, with any additional family members charged £1,430.

For countries not on the government’s red list, the travel rules vary depending on your vaccination status.

If you are fully vaccinated, you now no longer have to take a pre-departure test before travelling back to England, nor do you need to self-isolate when you arrive. However, you do have to take a day 2 PCR test after you arrive back in England, unless you arrive after Sunday 24 October, in which case you can then take a cheaper lateral flow test. 

If you aren’t fully vaccinated, you will have to take a pre-departure test within three days of travelling back to England. This can be a PCR or lateral flow test. You must also self-isolate for 10 days upon your arrival, and take a day 2 and day 8 PCR test. However, it is possible to end your isolation period early by taking an additional day 5 test.

All travellers must also complete a passenger locator form before arriving in England.

What if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?

The red list currently applies across the UK. However, rules for returning to British shores vary slightly between UK regions. To learn more, you can visit the government websites for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

When is the next travel update due?

The government most recently announced changes to the travel rules on 7 October. The government removed 47 countries from the red list of high-risk destinations. This move came less than a month after the government scrapped the much-criticised amber list.

The government typically reviews its travel rules every three weeks, usually on a Wednesday or Thursday. As a result, the next travel update is likely to take place on 27 or 28 October.

It’s worth knowing that the government’s next update is only likely to refer to adding or removing countries from the red list. That’s because the government has previously stated that it is looking to overhaul its wider travel policies ‘early in the new year’.

Changes to the red list typically come into effect a few days after any government announcement. The date that the changes will apply from is specified, and they typically take effect from 4am on that date.

In the next travel update, will the red list change again?

Recent changes to travel rules have been positive, after the government’s full traffic light system was dropped in September. It is likely that the government will want to accelerate this positive momentum by removing some of the seven countries remaining on the red list.

Covid-19 cases in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela are decreasing, meaning these South American nations may be next in line to be removed from the red list. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind the UK’s rate of Covid-19 infections is one of the highest in the world, and the government has used domestic case levels as a benchmark for determining which countries it deems ‘high risk.’ As a result, the UK’s high level of Covid-19 cases may actually contribute to more countries being dropped from the red list in a few days.

For more on Covid-19 and its ongoing impact on your finances, see the Motley Fool’s list of coronavirus resources.

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