Government confirms amber category to go as Turkey leaves red list

The Department for Transport confirmed its new rules for international travel. The traffic light system was scrapped in October 4.
The red list of countries will be maintained along with any other green country. The amber list must be discarded.

From 4am on September 22nd, eight countries will be taken off the red list. This includes Turkey. Turkey had been expected to be removed Sri Lankan, Egypt, and the Maldives.

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The government also has reduced the testing requirements for vaccinated immigrants to England.

Pre-departure testing will not be required for travellers who arrive in England from non-red-list countries at 4am on October 4.

The day 2 Covid test can now be performed for international fully-vaccinated arrivals from select non-red countries. It will include a lateral flow test, ending the need for PCR tests. These tests have been criticised for being too expensive and not being used to track variants, which was the original reason the government wanted them. Although no specific date has been set, the government stated that it intends to have it in place when people return from their half-term breaks.

Anybody who tests positive for a virus will be required to take a confirmatory PCR testing at no extra cost. The test would then be sequenced genomically to identify new variants.

Pre-departure testing, day 2 and 8 PCR tests will be used to test for passengers who are not vaccinated from non-red nations. To reduce self-isolation, test to release is an option.

The red list will be removed from eight countries: Turkey, Oman (Oman), Bangladesh, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Also, England will begin treating fully vaccinated UK travelers from 17 additional countries starting October 4. This follows the success in a pilot program with Europe and the USA.

This update is the last checkpoint that the governments Global Travel Taskforce promised. The update was originally due October 1. The government stated that it would review the system again in the spring and summer of 2022.

The government will make changes in October to allow passengers to change trains or flights during their travels to use the same procedures as those who have traveled through.

All passengers must still complete a Passenger Locator form before they travel. Passengers are advised to continue checking travel guidance before, during, and after they travel for information about entry requirements and restrictions at their destination.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, stated that today's changes will result in a simpler and more straightforward system. It is simpler and cheaper, which allows more people to travel, visit loved ones, or conduct business all over the globe, while also boosting the travel industry.

Our international travel policy has always placed public health at the forefront. With over 44 million people in the UK having been vaccinated, we can now introduce an updated structure to reflect the new environment.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said: We have simplified travel rules to make it easier to understand and follow. This opens up tourism and reduces costs when traveling abroad.

Global vaccination efforts are accelerating and more people are protected from this terrible disease. It is important that we maintain our current rules and regulations.

The Welsh government confirmed that it would make the eight same removals from red list on September 22 and stated it would carefully review the changes to the testing system which were due to take effect in England only.

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said that a four-nation approach is crucial to travel rules. However, she stated: International travel still poses a risk of infecting Wales with coronavirus, particularly newer and more serious variants. We recommend that people only travel to foreign countries for the most essential reasons.

These changes can pose a risk as they weaken the defense against infection imports and increase the likelihood of new infections and variants entering the UK and Wales. This risk can be reduced by vaccinations, but only if they work against the new and emerging strains of concern or high-risk variants currently under investigation.

At 6 pm on Friday, neither the Scottish nor Northern Irish governments had confirmed that they would adopt the changes approved by Westminster.

Abta encouraged the three devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to immediately update their international travel policies.

The association welcomed the updated but demanded that the government provide a date when the PCR tests will be eliminated. It also called for more countries to be taken off the red list and urged transparency in the government's criteria.

Continue reading: The SPAA urges the Scottish government to quickly change travel rules

Henry Smith MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation said: These announcements were good news for our travel, tourism and aviation businesses, who have been the hardest hit and most severely affected by the pandemic.

Industry and parliamentarians have been calling for reforms to the testing system. They are especially welcome because they will eliminate a significant financial burden and bureaucratic hurdle that has been a major deterrent to international travel.

It is crucial that the end of Covid restrictions be lifted and testing reforms implemented to help tourism and aviation industries. These industries are facing a long road to recovery after 18 months of low passenger numbers. The Government must continue working with them to develop a comprehensive package of recovery measures, including financial support.

Today's announcements signal the beginning of a long-term recovery in our aviation and travel industries. However, it is crucial that the government works with industry to ensure that aviation plays its vital role in moving the economy forward.

This news was widely welcomed by the outbound travel industry. While Joss Croft, chief executive of UKinbound, said that reducing the burdensome testing system was welcome news, he cautioned that the devil is in details and stated that clarity was needed.

Croft asked: What lateral flow providers must international arrivals use? Will tests purchased outside the UK but taken upon arrival be accepted? And what about children younger than 18 years old?

He said: "The UK continues to be at an economic disadvantage with Europe not having any testing requirements for immunized arrivals. This will have a direct impact on the UK's economic recovery.

Which? Which?, a consumer group, stated that it is important to lower the cost of testing overseas and remove some of the hassle of traveling abroad. This will help people who want to travel and visit family and friends.

Rory Boland, travel editor, said that the confusing traffic lights and dysfunctional PCR testing market caused disappointment for many travelers this summer. This left them vulnerable to unreliable providers and high prices. If there is more demand for lateral flow testing, the government must make sure that these problems don't recur.

He advised consumers to select travel companies that offer flexible booking policies.