Travel rules set for major shake-up - as red list 'set to be scrapped'

Travel rules set for major shake-up - as red list 'set to be scrapped' -- A hotel guest exercises as travellers leave the Radisson Blu hotel, Heathrow Airport, after completing their quarantine period on February 26, 2021 in London, England. Travellers arriving in the UK from February 15 2021 onwards from countries on the "red list" of restrictions have had to isolate in hotels at airports at their own expense for ten days. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The Government could be set to overhaul the Covid travel rules to scrap the ‘red list’ and hotel quarantine due to the declining threat of Covid from abroad, according to the Telegraph.

The COP26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow next week is also thought to be a factor in the decision.

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At a glance: 5 key points

Minister are set to consider plans to remove all countries from the red list and scrap the hotel quarantine policy, which has seen travellers charged £2,285 per person for a 10-day stay.

The hotel quarantine requirement would likely be replaced with a 10-day period of self-isolation, regardless of vaccination status.

The Telegraph reports that ministers will meet today (28 October) to consider the plans, although they may not come into effect until January.

Its thought that a red list would still exist, so that a framework remains in place in case there are outbreaks of new variants of concern in other countries.

COP26 is thought be a factor in the decision, but so is NHS data which shows people from the UK are more likely to catch Covid at home than from travelling in a Red list country.

A number of countries have recently dropped strict international travel restrictions, including Australia and Ireland. 

After 47 countries were removed from it in early October, the only remaining countries on the red list are Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

What’s been said?

Speaking to the Telegraph, a source said: “There is a strong desire to abolish the red list, but a final decision will be taken on Thursday. It has been very much the expectation with the added pressure of Cop26."

Chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, Paul Charles, told the Telegraph: "There’s no justification any more for keeping any country on the red list. They should follow Ireland, who made the same decision a month ago to take every country off its red list with immediate effect.

"It would be a popular move by the Government, especially with so many ministers coming for Cop26, including ministers from countries like Panama which are on the red list. It doesn’t look good for them to be inviting countries that are still on the red list to COP 26."