UK eases travel, takes all countries off virus 'red list'
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 file photo, arriving passengers walk past a sign in the arrivals area at Heathrow Airport in London.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, October 28, 2021 3:14PM EDT
LONDON (AP) - Britain on Thursday said it was removing the last seven countries on its travel “red list,” meaning travelers vaccinated against the coronavirus will no longer have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel after arriving in the U.K.
The countries are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Once the change takes effect at 4 a.m. (0400GMT) on Monday, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer have to stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of more than 2,000 pounds ($3,000).
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the red category would remain “as a precautionary measure” in case it was needed later.
He said Britain will also recognize vaccinations given in more than 30 additional countries, including Peru and Uganda, bringing the total to more than 135.
At one time there were dozens of countries on the red list, with other nations classed as amber, for medium risk, or green for low risk. Britain scrapped the amber and green categories on Oct. 4 and removed most countries from the red list three weeks ago.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said the latest move was “a welcome and a significant step forward to normalizing international travel.”
The U.K. government only makes health policy for England, but Scotland and Wales said they would mirror the changes. The Welsh government expressed concern, however, that the change increased the chances of a new, more severe or vaccine-resistant strain of the coronavirus reaching the U.K.
Britain has had one of the world's worst coronavirus outbreaks, with more than 140,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.