UK scraps 'traffic light system' to simplify int'l travel
London, Sep 18 (IANS) UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the current 'traffic light system' of red, amber and green countries will be scrapped to simplify international travel amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the government's plans for overhauling international travel, there will simply be a red list from October 4 and all other countries will be considered "clear" for travel, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry," the Transport Secretary said on Friday.
"Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape."
The government has also announced that from 4 a.m. on September 22, eight countries -- Turkey, Pakistan, Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh, Kenya -- will be removed from the red list
The previous amber and green lists will merge into a "Rest of World" (ROW) list.
Anyone in a country on this list who is fully vaccinated will no longer have to take a PCR test three days before travelling to England.
From October end, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace day-two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests.
Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
However, those who visit one of red list countries are still required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel upon arrival in Britain.