In late November, England reintroduced RED list countries to combat the new Covid-19 variant spreading to the UK.
Travelers from 11 African countries were required to quarantine at specific hotels at a high cost. The government has now decided to end the RED list as of 4 AM on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.
You can access UK’s page for Covid-19 and travel here.
This change doesn’t affect the pretravel lateral and day 2 or before PCR-RT test requirements. The government has indicated that these will be evaluated in early January.
RED countries (removed December 15, 2021):
- South Africa
Here’s an excerpt from the FT:
Sajid Javid, health secretary, told the House of Commons that hotel quarantine for travellers arriving in England from the red list countries would cease from 4am on Wednesday.
“Now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad,” he said.
Those with knowledge of the discussions said that ministers had concluded it was “pointless” maintaining the red list that will restrict travel over the Christmas period given the new variant was spreading so rapidly. The decision was backed up by public health advice, officials said.
The travel to the England and TRANSITING through Heathrow is already challenging because you need a pre-departure PCR-RT test and on arrival lateral flow test that is performed by day 2.
Removing these eleven countries from the RED list makes sense because it no longer prevents the spread of Omicron (already everywhere). Let’s see when other countries come to a similar conclusion.