Red List Countries: Dozens Of Destinations To Be Dropped From UK's High Risk Category

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce an overhaul of border controls on Friday.
<strong>A beach in Cesme district of Izmir, Turkey.</strong>
A beach in Cesme district of Izmir, Turkey.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ministers are poised to announce the number of “red” list travel destinations is to be dramatically scaled-back as part of an overhaul of Covid-era border restrictions.

On Friday, the government is also expected to say that the “green” and “amber” lists will be merged to form one category of low-risk countries.

In a move that will offer UK holidaymakers greater freedom to travel abroad, more than 30 of the 62 countries on the “red” list are set to be removed.

The changes would come into force ahead of the October half-term break.

Countries on the list include Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, the Maldives, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The Times reported Turkey will be among the countries that will come off the “red” list.

It is anticipated that people arriving from “red” list countries will continue to be required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

Reports also suggest that fully vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure lateral flow test or a post-arrival PCR test. This would save travellers around £100 per trip.

Currently, travellers who have not had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine must take one PCR test and are not required to self-isolate after arriving from a “green” list destination.

According to reports, they could be required to quarantine at home and be required to take two tests when arriving from a low-risk location under the new system.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps is expected to make the announcement on Friday, and the move will only apply to England. But recently the devolved administrations have implemented rule changes for travel announced in Westminster.

Paul Charles, chief executives of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said earlier this week that 24 countries “should be taken off”, including Pakistan, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Chile.

He added that he would be “very surprised” if Turkey is removed due to “worsening” coronavirus data.

But coronavirus data analyst Tim White said: “With Grant Shapps and the travel lottery, no-one can be sure. But the data firmly support Turkey being removed as it has no threat of variants and a lot of genomic sequencing.”

The travel sector has been desperate for the testing and quarantine rules for international travel to be relaxed.

Heathrow said this week it has gone from being Europe’s busiest airport in 2019 to number 10 on the list, behind rivals in cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.