The traffic light system for international travel is to be scrapped and the number of countries from which returning travellers will be required to quarantine in a hotel is to be cut, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.
From October 4, there will be a single red list of countries from where travellers to England must stay in a Government-supervised hotel – with Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives all removed from the line-up.
People who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a pre-departure test before returning from non-red list destinations, and from later in the month will be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test.
In a series of tweets, Mr Shapps said the new “simplified” system aimed to strike “the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority”.
The widely expected move comes amid intense pressure from the travel industry to relax restrictions after another summer hit by coronavirus controls.
In a statement, Mr Shapps: “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 more than eight in 10 adults fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”
The move was welcomed by the chairman of the Commons Transport Committee Hew Merriman.
“The committee has called out confusing watchlists and quarantines; criticised the delay in reaping the benefit of the vaccine dividend and puzzled over the high costs and lack of sequencing of PCR tests,” he said.
“The need for caution is clear but with 80% of our country now vaccinated, UK travel needs a shot in the arm and this could be it.
“It’s a relief to see the Government move on these issues and this announcement, timed ahead of October half-term, could have an immediate impact on the UK’s travel industry.”
A version of this story originally appeared on NationalWorld.com