What are the new red list countries after UK travel update? Here are the changes to the traffic light system

Here are the new countries declared to have a high coronavirus risk and added to the UK’s red travel list at the latest travel update

The new travel rules for the whole of the UK that are in place from October 4th mean that the traffic light system has dramatically changed.

Before the changes came into play, holiday destinations were classified as green, amber or red depending on the Covid risks associated with travelling to and from them.

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Scots were able to travel to a number of green countries without needing to self-isolate on return, and fully jabbed people coming back from amber list destinations did not need to quarantine.

What countries are on red list? Holiday destinations on high risk list after last UK travel update (Image credit: Getty Images/Canva)What countries are on red list? Holiday destinations on high risk list after last UK travel update (Image credit: Getty Images/Canva)
What countries are on red list? Holiday destinations on high risk list after last UK travel update (Image credit: Getty Images/Canva)

The government instructed people not to travel to red, or high risk, countries unless for extremely essential reasons.

Now, however, the traffic light system has been reduce to just one colour: red.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest travel rules and what countries are on the red list.

What happened to the traffic light system?

Both the green and the amber lists have now been scrapped, meaning that only the red list remains.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that this move was taken in order to “simplify measures”.

Starting from October 4th, these new rules are expected to remain in place until the New Year.

What are the new travel rules when returning to the UK?

Fully-vaccinated residents will no longer need to take a pre-departure lateral flow test when travelling back to the UK from anywhere except a red-list country.

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However, they will still need to book and pay for a test either on or before the second day after they arrive.

On October 8th, Mr Shapps announced that he wants to replace PCR test with lateral flows before half-term.

Most schools break up on October 22nd, with time off between October 25th and 29th and returning to school on November 1st.

"I know my colleagues at [the Department of] Health and to some extent the Home Office - they are the people that have to implement this change - are working extremely hard on getting this done," explained the Transort Secretary. "And so we anticipate having it ready for the half-term."

Aside from tests, double-jabbed travellers will need to fill out a passenger locator form within 48 hours when coming back to the UK.

These rules also apply to those under 18, even if they’re not fully vaccinated.

For those who are not double vaccinated, they will still need to take a pre-departure Covid test three days before returning to the UK, as well as two more test on day two and day eight after arrival.

Non-vaccinated residents also need to fill out the same passenger locator form within 48 hours of arrival in the UK.

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On top of that, they will need to quarantine for 10 days, either at home or wherever they are staying.

What are the travel rules when returning from red list countries?

For red-list countries, stricter rules are in place, regardless of your vaccination status.

You will need to take a pre-departure Covid test in the three days before returning to the UK, book and quarantine in a particular to carry out two follow-up Covid test, and complete the passenger locator form within 48 hours of returning.

Do the new travel rules apply in Scotland?

Although initially First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was sceptical about Scotland following suit with England’s travel rules, she announced on September 28th that the country would also be making the changes "with some reluctance”.

"We have also considered the practical consequences of not having an aligned position,” said Ms Sturgeon. "In particular, we have to be realistic about the fact that people living in Scotland could decide to return here via airports based in England, if different rules are in place for Scottish airports. The result of this would be a disadvantage to our aviation and travel sector, but without any significant public health advantage."

This means that all four UK countries have a united stance on these travel rules.

What countries are on the red list?

The UK Government is reviewing the traffic light system every three weeks, with any changes so far being applied across the four nations.

The red list now comprises multiple countries.

Mr Shapps said red list destinations are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

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Unfortunately, this includes popular tourist destinations for summer holidays like Costa Rica and the Seychelles.

These are: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French, Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The list was originally 30 countries long when the travel traffic light system first came into place.

On October 8th, Mr Shapps announced that 47 countries were to be removed from England's travel red list, leaving just seven countries and territories remaining.

It’s unconfirmed whether Scotland will be following suit on this latest change.

How are red list countries decided?

A country is deemed as high risk if a variant of concern - like the strains found in South Africa, Brazil and India - has been identified there.

The latter variant, known as Delta, is thought to be between 30 and 100% more transmissible than the mutation that was first detected in Kent.

Countries are also assessed on their rate of infection and the progress of their vaccination programme.



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