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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.

  • Cambridge Dad says:

    The whole world should have found a way to have ‘chicken pox parties’ – with Delta – from about June onwards. Delta pre-eminence is the obvious way the pandemic is going away as a threat by about – whaddya think? – March 2022? Still present and endemic but nothing for the fully vaccinated to worry about and increasingly less of a worry for the more vulnerable/ those unable to get the benefits of full vaccination.

  • HBommie says:

    Gotta love an improvised water bottle. 🙂

  • Tony says:

    Can anyone explain the rationale for the 7 countries on the red list?

    • ChrisW says:

      I think Grant Shapps has a bad holiday to the Dominican Republic once and that is why he hates it so much.

    • John says:

      Probably something to do with lambda not being fully displaced by delta, or what is perceived by the UK to be dodgy vaccination data

  • Helen says:

    As BA have cancelled my MAN – LHR flight in January maybe I can go to Cape Town for Christmas 🤔

    • Justin Fenton says:

      The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

      This needs to change

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Isn’t the real question here

    what will all the “requisitioned” hotels do now they’ve cancelled stays?

    CP The City must be wondering who is going to end up there from 7 South American countries.

    • Sam G says:

      especially when it’s pretty easy to either legitimately “quarantine” in Europe or come back via Dublin (over the border to Belfast first if you are really paranoid) – so really very few people should actually end up in a hotel

  • Harry T says:

    After two cancellations and rebookings, my BA Holiday to Cape Town that started life in January 2021 and was booked in the 747 sale of 2020 can finally go ahead… in January 2022.

  • Gareth says:

    Just moved cancelled cape Town flight to 17th November, avios 241.

    Even half hour after it was announced, half seats had gone

    • Aston100 says:

      No restrictions when you go there?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        None need a predeparture PCR taken within 72 hours.

      • Justin Fenton says:

        The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

  • Barnaby100 says:

    Is it BAs role to check a passenger has a PLF before flying to the UK from Canada?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. Airlines are fined if they carry passengers who do not have the right documents.

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

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