NEWS: UK removes all 11 countries from red list but testing to remain until New Year

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UK removes all 11 countries from red list

For once the government appears to be reacting quickly to the changing Covid picture and have removed all 11 countries from the red list, meaning no hotel quarantine will be required for those arriving into the UK from 4am 15 December. Currently, arrivals from those countries have to pay for 10 days hotel quarantine. 

The health minister, Sajid Javid, told the Commons “We won’t keep measures in place for a moment longer than we need to. For example, now that there is community transmission of Omicron in the UK, and Omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad.”

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Cape Town waterfront and Table mountain

The red list countries being removed are:

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

However, getting back to the usual state of affairs, there will now be no review of travel restrictions until the New Year, despite the government indicating they would do so before Christmas! Grant Shapps said in a Tweet,


So the health minister has effectively said that Omincron is spreading rapidly with it likely to be the dominant strain within a couple of weeks but “We won’t keep measures in place for a moment longer than we need to” and then refusing to review testing rules for at least two weeks. 

I agree about needing some form of testing entering the UK but the current PCR test and isolation is difficult for many given that most testing companies are struggling to keep up with demand. The former rules made a lot more sense once Omnicron is the dominant strain. 

5 Comments on "NEWS: UK removes all 11 countries from red list but testing to remain until New Year"

  1. Wing It One World | 14 December 2021 at 6:56 pm |

    I totally agree here, I have just flown back from Bucharest to LHR and both BA and the airport was spot on, however the public transport getting to the Moxy Hotel to get my day 2 test was horrendous and so much more risky that sitting on a plane with all customers wearing masks and being courteous to each other. Shame that TFL don’t help the situation. What do you really think of the chances changing in the beginning of January.???

    • I do believe with the current health minister there’s a much bigger chance of testing being reduced back to pre Omicron. Sadly I don’t think they’ll remove altogether for a good while.

  2. With zero checks on whether you even take the PCR or are negative or positive and with people mixing with others both inside and outside the airport the whole procedure is pointless.

  3. Mark Wilkins | 15 December 2021 at 7:18 am |

    Certainly doesn’t make starved and avid travellers want to dip their big toe in the water, well not in my case

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