Eligible fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the United Kingdom (UK) from countries not on the red list will no longer need to complete a Pre-Departure Test (PDT), a day 8 test, or enter a 10-day self-isolation period.

This is according to the new simplified travel rules published on the UK’s official website on Monday.

The new rules, which took effect from Monday, 4 October , indicate that countries around the world have been categorised as either red or the rest of the world list, replacing the green and amber lists.

“From 4am today (Monday 4 October 2021), the UK’s new travel system comes into force with countries and territories categorised as either red or the rest of the world.

The new simplified travel system also means that eligible fully vaccinated passengers and eligible under-18s returning from over 50 countries and territories not on the red list, can do so without needing to complete a pre-departure test (PDT), a day 8 test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period, making it easier for those travelling – whether that’s to see friends and family, or on business trips.

“All under-11s, regardless of where they are travelling from, are already exempt from pre-departure testing for arrival in the UK. If children aged 11 and over are not travelling from one of the 50-plus countries and territories where vaccines are recognised, they will be required to follow the same rules as for unvaccinated passengers,” It said.

However, fully vaccinated residents in other countries not yet part of the inbound policy, as well as those partially vaccinated, will still have to take a pre-departure test, PCR tests for day 2 and day 8 after arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days, with the option to test to release after 5 days.

More changes

The UK government said later in October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers with an approved vaccine and recognised certificate from a country not on the red list will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival in England.

It said this will be in place for when people return from half-term breaks.

“Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants,” It said.

The government said it is expanding the country’s vaccinated policy to a further 18 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Canada.

It noted that the recognised COVID-19 vaccines are Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca (including Covidshield), Moderna and Janssen (J&J).

The government maintained that it would take a phased approach to recognising vaccines administered by other countries and territories, building on the success of the pilot with the US and Europe.

The UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said the country is accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good.

Mr Shapps said the new simplified rules are good news for families, businesses, and the travel sector.

“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than 8 in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.

Red list of countries and territories

Countries flagged as red list are those with the highest risk of the virus.

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

Background

Following complaints by travellers to the UK, the UK authorities had said they would soon simplify existing travel rules for Nigerians and other international visitors to the country.

Before now, travellers from Nigeria and other countries were made to undergo two COVID-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 of their arrival.

“You can imagine the frustrations of Nigerians visiting the UK. After taking two doses of vaccines in Nigeria, you are still made to pay for accommodation for isolation while you also pay for tests.

“A friend of mine paid about 160 pounds sterling, an amount equivalent to about N120,000, just for testing,” a source had told PREMIUM TIMES.

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