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‘Red List’ cut sharply from 54 countries to just seven from next Monday

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The Government has, as was widely trailed, taken a knife to the ‘Red List’ of countries which require hotel quarantine when returning to England.

The number of countries impacted will drop from 54 to seven.

Just an important as the removal of hotel quarantine is the fact that the restriction on entering England if you are not a British or Irish national, or do not have residence rights in the UK, falls away.

Red List updated

The Government has also agreed to recognise vaccines given in a further 37 countries, meaning that anyone vaccinated in those countries is treated as vaccinated by the UK authorities.

In a statement, Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: 

“It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel. Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries, and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.

“Once we have a firm date for the reopening of US borders in November, we look forward to reconnecting our two countries, reigniting transatlantic businesses and reuniting families who have been separated for the best part of two years. We are ready, and we look forward to operating our first flights and welcoming back our customers.”

Virgin Atlantic said:

“The considerable reduction in the  Red List and recognition of many more countries’ vaccination status is another positive step towards the UK’s recovery from the pandemic and a boost to international travel.  We are ready to welcome fully vaccinated arrivals from India, South Africa, and Hong Kong to the UK. However, to ensure the full economic benefits are realised and that Britain’s global ambitions are met, all testing for fully vaccinated travellers from low risk destinations must be removed, bringing us into line with Europe and the US. 

“We look forward to receiving the date for the reopening of the US border for fully vaccinated international visitors as soon as possible, allowing the UK to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.”

What are the changes to the ‘Red List’?

The countries on the ‘Red List’ can be found here.

The changes will kick in for anyone arriving in the UK from 4am on Monday 11th October.

The following countries will REMAIN on the ‘Red List’:

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venzuela

The following countries will be REMOVED from the ‘Red List’:

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Georgia
  • Guyana
  • Indonesia
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Réunion
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Uruguay
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Why has this change happened?

This article from Gridpoint Consulting gives a good overview of why the ‘Red List’ should have been abolished in full, although today’s announcement is a good start.

The bottom line is that, with no new coronavirus ‘variants of concern’ identified anywhere in the world since May, and with Delta quickly killing off other variants once it is introduced to a country, there are no risk factors to justify hotel quarantine.

What are the ‘Red List’ rules?

Here are the rules which apply to the remaining seven countries on the ‘Red List’.

The rules apply to everyone, irrespective of vaccination status, arriving from a country on the ‘Red List’.

If you have transited in a ‘Red List’ country on your way to the UK, you must follow the ‘Red List’ rules. The Government has announced that this rule will be removed but no date has been set.

You will only be allowed to enter the  UK if you are a British or Irish national or you have residence rights in the UK.

You will need to take a ‘Fit To Fly’ coronavirus test (this does not need to be a PCR test) in the three days before you return to England.

You will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before returning to the UK.

You need to book a 10-day quarantine hotel package, which includes the two necessary tests.


You can find out more about the current coronavirus travel restrictions on this page of

One question to be an answered is whether, with so few ‘Red List’ flights now scheduled for the UK, Heathrow Terminal 4 is handed back for normal operation or whether it remains segregated to serve what could be as few as 100 people per day.

Comments (54)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Will says:

    About time! Glad to see some common sense is finally coming from this government.

    • Cambridge Dad says:

      Health Minister wanted to keep Day 2 PCR tests. Absorbtion by the blob didn’t take too long, ie a few weeks after he got his job now focused solely on public health as opposed to the bigger picture/ the economy/ quality of life and other factors such as effective education.

  • Jon says:

    Took a gamble and booked my Dom Rep hotels for Feb this morning! Call me Lucky!

    • meta says:

      Lucky? Dom Rep stays on the red list.

      • Anna says:

        You’d hope things may have changed again by Feb. It’s hard to understand how spending 2 weeks in an AI hotel (as most tourists do) can be particularly risky, compared with some of the places they’ve taken off the red list.

        • JDB says:

          I think the issue with the Dominican Republic is partly that it is on the same island as Haiti.

      • Jon says:

        I was being sarcastic!

  • Morgan says:

    How quickly can we expect BA and other airlines to reinstate scheduled services to those destinations?

  • sigma421 says:

    Also worth noting that the list of acceptable vaccine locations has been significantly expanded

  • Anna says:

    Meanwhile, Americans have been happily vacationing in the DR all year and not been made to quarantine on their return home, while Europeans are classed as presenting too much risk to them!

  • Aston100 says:

    “In addition to the shorter red list, the government said passengers would soon be able to use a photograph of a lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify a negative result.”

    Oh dear. Why even bother with a test if a photo is sufficient evidence?

    • Freddy says:

      Did my test good and proper, shoved it up my *** and it came back negative, honest guv

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Chronomics pre departure test is just a photo of the LFD

  • Craig says:

    Just need some of those countries to let us in now. Singapore and Bali in particular.

    • Sam G says:

      Yes Bali is apparently allowing in international flights but needing 8 days in quarantine – no idea who they think will go for that beyond a few nomads especially with Thailand loosening up just in time for the decent weather in Phuket etc

  • Rachel Robinson says:

    Now we just need the FCDO advice to catch up

    • Thom says:

      +1 very true. Appreciate they are looking at different factors but still …

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