The shake up of the much-maligned Covid travel rules for entering UK countries comes into force on Monday, October 4th.
The new measures are initially only applicable for travel to England but the devolved nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are likely to follow suit.
Travellers heading from European countries to the England should take note of the following changes:
- The UK has scrapped its “amber” list which contained most European countries. It now has just a reduced red list and then the “rest of the world” which currently contains European countries.
- Vaccinated travellers from green list countries do not need to undertake pre-departure tests for travel to England (previously those travelling from European countries needed a PCR or antigen/lateral flow test within 72 hours of travel). This measure will be applicable from October 4th a 4am.
- Those arriving in England from a non-red country will still need a test on day two of arrival, but it can be the cheaper lateral flow tests rather than the expensive PCR tests which previously needed to be reserved and paid for in advance of travel. This measure will come into force “later in October” and would only be for those who have been injected against Covid-19 with an “approved vaccine”. It was not clear whether these would have to be paid for and reserved in advance.
- Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which “would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants”.
- For unvaccinated travellers, strict rules still apply including the need to quarantine for 10 days after arrival . “Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. and test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period,” the government said.
- All passengers will still need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form ahead of travel.