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‘Red List’ scrapped – but pre- and post-travel testing to remain

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The Government has announced that the ‘Red List’ will be scrapped from 4am on Wednesday morning.

This means that anyone returning to England (and only England for now) from 11 Southern African countries will no longer have to quarantine in a hotel.

It is not clear what will happen to those people who are already in quarantine. The Government has promised a review, but for now they will have to remain in a hotel until the end of their 10 day quarantine period.


The 10 countries on the ‘Red List’ are:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Nigeria

Travel testing will remain until at least January

Despite the removal of the ‘Red List’, the Government has confirmed that travel testing will continue to be required.

This means a pre-flight ‘Fit To Fly’ test and a ‘Day 2’ PCR test, with the requirement that you quarantine until the rest of the Day 2 test is received. has not yet been updated to reflect these changes.

More details to follow.

Comments (67)

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

  • Russ says:

    Does this means the airport hotels closed for quarantine will now be able to reopen?

    • Lady London says:

      Don’t bet on it. The government probably signed a poor contract entitling quarantine hotels to money for a long time yet.

  • blenz101 says:

    No. Harry has every right to be annoyed. How can anybody make any judgement if laws are made up randomly.

    We are two years in to this pandemic. The potential for a pandemic has been a top 3 national risk register concern for over 10 years. Variants were confidently predicted.

    Do you honestly think if France had sequenced it first and reported to the WHO we would have been closing our borders in the same way?

    How much did it cost the UK keeping out the Middle East last summer on the basis they have airport hubs. As opposed to the ones at Heathrow, CDG, AMS etc.

    • Mike says:

      Would we closed the border to France you say? Interestingly we had the reverse when the Kent variant popped up. So you can guess what France would have done. So we have examples of Europe-Europe restrictions.

  • Tracey says:

    I’m with you. Cancelled a holiday to Mauritius for fear it would turn red while we were away.

    Realise this is tiny in the scheme of things, but when things hit you on a personal level we are entitled to be annoyed.

    Combine that with family member going down with covid today, 5.5 months after second jab and having been denied a booster as too young under last week’s rules.

    • Track says:

      The booster is still old Pfizer vaccine, not Omicron specific.

      The first information was that effectiveness of vaccines is at question. The second information was a reverse saying double and triple Pfizer jab ‘effective’ for Omicron (in a Petri dish, using blood plasma I assume). The third information is that Omicron-specific vaccine will still be required and will take 100+ days to be tested.

  • NorthernLass says:

    Yes but the equally idiotic opposition have supported every restriction which has been brought in so far, Harry T! None of them want to get the blame if things take a turn for the worse, so they’ll always err on the side of caution.

    • AJA says:

      This is the point. I doubt things would be any different if it was Labour in power. The red list was an attempt by the government to stop the spread of the Omicron variant despite the reality that it was already spreading in the UK. The government were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. It’s an equally tough decision that Harry T had to make, the option was to pay and go ahead as originally planned or take advantage of the ability to move to later in the year.

      • Track says:

        I dont see it that way “damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.’

        Instead of fighting wars over travel restrictions and devising that legislation, the planning experts could foresee the increased demand for vaccination and focus on that.

        Instead, the government did choose to spend two weeks of public attention on travel restrictions and policies and announcements.

  • marks7389 says:

    And if everyone stops travelling for leisure and few people are travelling for business how much of the travel industry will be left in a few months time given the mounting losses and termination of the furlough scheme? What impact will that have on employees of those business and the wider economy? And what message has the imposition of red list rules as short notice sent to other governments that may be considering how much they want to invest in genomic sequencing whether they might want to put themselves in the firing line next if the situation arises?

    Quite aside for the impact on people’s personal plans (and, Covid aside, life is short so I for one will weigh up the risks and make plans accordingly) there is real wider impact.

    I get it, as with so much else the government is damned either way but with all of this there are risks in over-reacting just as under-reacting. In this particular case I believe it was obvious pretty early on that if the transmissibility was as it appeared that these kind of border controls were going to do very little to slow it down.

    At least we’re in a better position to whether the impact that many otherwise. I wouldn’t want to be living in a country right now that has sealed itself off to the extent there’s hardly any natural resistance and vaccination rates for the initial course are low, let alone boosters…. because the chances of it breaking through anyway have suddenly shot up massively.

  • Ian says:

    Talk about first world problems! Anyone who books holidays abroad during a global pandemic has to accept the risk that their trip will be disrupted, curtailed or cancelled. I have absolutely zero sympathy for your plight.

    • Dr Shark says:

      But there is not really a “global pandemic” is there, any more than there was in every single year 1990-2008 in which age adjusted per capita mortality for England was higher than 2020, which itself was only 12% higher than 2019 (and even that offset by negative excess deaths in 2021).

      I can but hope that HfP reverts back to useful frequent travel comments it had prior to March 2020 rather than the misguided commentary it has from certain sourcesl

      • Track says:

        It is a global pandemic, and as nearly all these situations are (except perhaps Martians landing) — the crises are man-made and man-declared. So will be the wins.

      • Bill says:

        Surely what counts a pandemic depends on the *spread* of a virus, not its lethality? And if we care about the lethality of a virus, we should assess it based on its Infection Fatality Rate, not how many people happen to die in a given population after mitigations (lockdowns, vaccination). Just compare the current situation of the UK with Russia for example.

        • Rui N. says:

          Indeed. If a disease if lethal or not is quite irrelevant for it being a pandemic or not. It’s about how much it spreads, now how many it kills. Diseases that kill a lot (Ebola eg) tend to not be very wide spread, as they kill so fast there is not time for the bug to spread. (Containing Ebola was also helped by it having very clear symptoms, so easy to track and isolate even in very poor countries like those affected. Same with the original SARS, the symptons were so identifiable that it was much easier to stop it spreading.)

    • RG1X says:

      What about those of us that booked pre-pandemic and are now struggling to use our tickets before validity expires? Do you have any sympathy for our plight

  • Daniel says:

    Gullible Mikey…

  • John says:

    The virus came to the UK from Austria and Italy mainly

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