COVID-19: All countries to be removed from travel red list meaning no hotel quarantine for UK arrivals

The remaining seven countries on the government’s travel red list are set to be removed meaning there will no longer be a requirement for hotel quarantine for arrivals to the UK, Sky News understands.

Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela are being taken off the list, which will leave no countries left in the highest category of travel restrictions.

However, Downing Street has said the red list system – or hotel quarantine – is not being scrapped entirely and that it remains “an important tool” in the government’s COVID-19 response.

This has left open the prospect of other countries being added, or readded, to the red list in future.

Those arriving in the UK from a red list destination – or who have been in or travelled through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before their journey to the UK – have been required to spend 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel immediately following their arrival.

This is at a cost of £2,285 for adults, with lower rates for children. Breaking the quarantine rules could see penalties of up to £10,000.

Since the system of managed hotel quarantine began in mid-February, more than 200,000 people have spent time in a quarantine hotel in England.

This includes more than 3,100 in the last week of September, and more than 4,450 the week before, according to latest NHS Test and Trace data.

In comparison, more than five million people have quarantined at home in England since mid-February.

The system of managed hotel quarantine was introduced by the government in February in response to the emergence of new coronavirus variants in different parts of the world.

Ministers had also been under pressure to introduce a hotel quarantine system to follow the example of countries like New Zealand and Australia in keeping COVID rates related to international travel low.

As recently as this month, there had been 54 countries and territories on the government’s travel red list.

However, 47 of these were removed on 11 October as health officials pointed to the progress of coronavirus vaccine programmes both in the UK and around the world.

Earlier in October, the system of UK travel restrictions was simplified with the removal of the “traffic light” system and “amber” countries.

It means that there are now only two categories of foreign destinations – red list countries requiring hotel quarantine, and the rest of the world.

Those arriving in the UK from non-red list countries who are fully vaccinated, or under 18, have – since 4 October – not needed to complete a pre-departure test, a day eight test or enter a 10-day self-isolation period at home.

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