With slightly obscure timing, the Government tweeted out changes to the Green, Amber and Red travel lists at 10pm on Wednesday.
The big news for many is that France, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have moved to the Amber list. This means that Middle Eastern holidays are back on this Autumn for anyone in England who is fully vaccinated, and France is once again open for British tourists.
Here are the changes in full:
- Moving from Amber to Green: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, Norway
- Moving from Red to Amber: India, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE
- Moving from Amber Plus to Amber: France
- Moving from Amber to Red: Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion, Mayotte
These changes take effect from 4am on Sunday 8th August.
It is important to remember that just because a country is on the Green or Amber list, it does not mean that England residents are allowed to enter. You should check the entry requirements on gov.uk.
With Amber being the same as Green for fully vaccinated travellers, the set of seven countries moving to Green has minimal impact for most people. I believe that Latvia and Slovakia are the only two countries which will admit unvaccinated visitors from England without quarantine.
Moving France back onto the Amber list opens up the country for tourism again, although you need to question the wisdom of moving it in the first place if it can be moved back so quickly.
Sean Doyle, British Airways CEO, said in a statement:
“This week we’ve witnessed emotional airport scenes as restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from the US and EU were finally lifted, allowing loved ones to safely reunite.
“We welcome more low-risk countries being added to the Green list but urge the Government to go further, end uncertainty and allow people to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme. The UK’s economic recovery is reliant on a thriving travel sector and right now we’re lagging behind Europe, with our more stringent testing requirements and a Red list significantly broader than our European peers.”
Extra testing ‘suggestions’ for Spain
It is reported that arrivals from Spain are “advised” to take a PCR test rather than a lateral flow as a ‘fit to fly’ test before boarding an aircraft back to the UK. This has no legal impact and simply adds additional complexity and confusion.
Current testing requirements
These are the testing and quarantine requirements currently in place:
Green countries: You will need to take a pre-departure test (can be lateral flow) as well as a PCR test on or before day 2 of your return into England. You will not need to quarantine unless or take additional tests unless your tests come back positive.
Amber countries: You will need to take a pre-departure test before returning to England and must quarantine at home for 10 days, taking a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. You can choose to take an additional PCR test on day 5 under the optional ‘Test to Release’ scheme, which allow you to end your quarantine early. Returnees who are double vaccinated at least 14 days before they return from an Amber country, plus any accompanying children under 18, are treated as if returning from a Green country.
Red countries: You will be subject to a 10-day quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel, with testing prior to your arrival in England as well as on day 2 and day 8. You cannot reduce your quarantine period and must pay for the hotel.
Red list quarantine is going up by £500
In a further attempt to discourage people returning from Red list countries, the cost of quarantine is going up from £1,750 to £2,285 from 12th August. A 2nd adult staying in the same room will be an additional £1,430.
For most people it will be cheaper – and far more pleasant – to spend 10 days in a Green or Amber list country on your way back to England from a Red list country.
You can find out more about the list changes on gov.uk here.