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England loosens travel restrictions and removes all countries from COVID-19 red list

England is set to remove all countries from its red list of COVID-19 hotspots. This means that fully vaccinated passengers from around the world will no longer have to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine if they test negative when arriving into the country.

Just seven countries currently remain on the red list including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Anyone arriving into England from the red list is required to spend 10 days in a government-designated hotel at a cost of £2285 per adult, regardless of their vaccination status.

However, these countries are set to be removed from the red list on Monday, November 1 at 4am, following a reassessment of the COVID-19 risk. “We have been able to do this now because the variants of concern that we have been tracking are no longer of concern to the chief medical officers,” the UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, told the BBC.

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But the red list isn’t going away. Shapps said the system will remain and any country will added to the red list if they record a significant increase in coronavirus case numbers.

The removal of the last seven countries from the red list only applies to England for now. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales set out their own travel guidelines.

Mandatory quarantine at government-designated hotels has been dropped for now, but currently only travelers vaccinated in the EU, US or one of these 50-plus countries and territories are allowed to travel to the UK without the need to quarantine at home or in their place of accommodation. However, from Monday the UK government confirmed today that it will recognize vaccines administered in more than 30 new countries and territories, including Peru and Uganda.

England updated its travel policy at the start of October, replacing its green, amber and red traffic light system with a single red list of countries and territories that are considered high-risk in the context of COVID-19.

Under the updated travel policy, most fully vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries, provided they are included in the inbound vaccination policy, do not have to take a pre-departure test when traveling to England but they are required to take a lateral flow test, or a PCR test, on day two of their arrival.

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Unvaccinated passengers need to take tests before departure, on days two and eight of arriving/returning to England and need to quarantine for 10 days.

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