17 September, 2021

Major changes to England's travel traffic light system

The UK's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced major changes to England's international travel traffic light system to start taking effect from early October. 

From 0400 on Monday 4 October, the amber and green lists will be merged into one list, so we'll only have the open gree list and the red list. Anyone who is fully vaccinated will no longer have to take a PCR test before travelling back to England from green listed countries.

Whilst PCR tests will still need to be done two days after arrival, the rules will be relaxed later in October when the authorities will allow the much cheaper, simpler and faster lateral flow tests. 

But, it's bad news, if you haven't been had both doses of the vaccination as you'll be required to take a pre-departure test plus you, will need a PCR test on the second and eighth days after arrival in to England.  People will be required to self-isolate for 10 days if returning from a non-red list country.

The government also said that more vaccine apps from other countries would be accepted as long as the vaccine was a UK acceptable one. 

Whilst the changes were warmly welcomed by most in the travel industry,  MAG boss Charlie Cornish continued his government bashing stance,  "For many months, the recovery of UK aviation has lagged behind the rest of Europe" he said and continued to moan, "For as long as vaccinated travellers have to pay for tests, the recovery of one of the UK’s major industries will be held back.

The Government must now find a way to give people back the freedom to travel without the barrier of testing."

Grant Shapps said: "Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape."

Health Secretary Sajid Javid commented, "Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad."

easyJet's Johan Lundgren wasn't satisfied with the new rules, "Vaccinated travellers and those from low-risk countries will still have to do an unnecessary test after arriving in the UK, making travel less affordable for all."

The British Airways boss also wasn't pleased with the announcement,  Sean Doyle said he wanted the government to go further and drop all tests for all vaccinated people arriving from anywhere.

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