LONDON -- Thursday's announcement by the British government indicated that it will relax travel regulations further next week. This move will allow travelers to access many long-distance destinations for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic one year ago.
The government announced that it will recognize vaccination programs from dozens of other countries, and has drastically reduced the number of places travelers must quarantine in hotels.
It announced that it would lift the requirement to have hotel quarantine clearances for all arrivals from 47 countries including South Africa, Mexico, Thailand. Although the announcement is only for England, it has been followed by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The change will take effect Monday and only seven countries (Colombia, Dominican Republic. Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Haiti, Panama, Peru, Venezuela) will be on the "red list." This requires that all passengers enter quarantine at hotels for 11 nights at a cost to them of 2,285 pounds ($3,100 for individuals).
These changes will allow anyone from 47 countries that have been removed from the redlist to be exempted from this requirement.
They will need to undergo a series coronavirus testing before and after they arrive. If the British government does not recognize the country's vaccination status certificates or the vaccines used, they will be placed in self-isolation for ten day. It also recognizes vaccines from AstraZeneca and Moderna, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
This decision will mean that eligible adults who have been fully vaccinated and children under 18 years old from these areas will be treated as British citizens. They won't have to take a predeparture or eighth-day test and they will not be isolated.
The nights are drawing in earlier than usual ahead of the half-term break at school later this month and winter quickly approaching, these changes could give an impetus to the travel industry, which has suffered more than any other sector during the pandemic.
"With half-term sun and winter sun just around the corner we're making it simpler for families and loved one to reunite, through significantly cutting the number destinations on the red list thanks in part to increased vaccination efforts around world," Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, stated.
It also reiterated its intention to allow eligible fully-vaccinated travelers to use a lateralflow test instead of the more costly gold standard PCR test by the end the month. It stated that travelers will be able send a photo to confirm they have passed a lateral flow testing.
British Airways announced that it will resume service and increase frequency to a variety of winter destinations that were removed from the red-list, including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.
Its chief executive Sean Doyle stated that "it finally feels like there is light at the end a very long tunnel." "Britain will reap the benefits of this significant drop in red list countries, and now it's time for us to focus our attention on eradicating testing to fully-vaccinated travelers so that we don't lose our spot on the global stage."