Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)–The British government announced on Friday that it is simplifying controversial travel lists and canceling mandatory Covid-19 tests for immunized travelers returning to England from countries on its safe list.
British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a series of posts on Twitter that the red, green and amber country lists for travelers to England would no longer exist from 4 October.
Instead, there will be a “simpler” red list of blocked destinations.
Shapps said the new system would help “strike the right balance of public health risk management as priority No. 1”.
He added that 8 countries will be removed from the red list on October 22, including Turkey, a popular holiday destination in the United Kingdom, in addition to Bangladesh, Egypt, the Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kenya.
Shapps said the UK would no longer require pre-departure tests for fully vaccinated travelers from countries not on the red list, from 4 October.
According to the statement released by the UK government on Friday, travelers who test positive for the coronavirus will be forced to self-quarantine and undergo a confirmatory PCR test at no additional cost.
Shapps explained that these updated measures aim to cut costs, which are possible due to the high levels of vaccination in the country.
“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy, and with more than 8 in 10 adults in the UK vaccinated, we are now able to offer an updated, proportional structure that reflects the new landscape,” Shapps said in a statement.
“During the pandemic, UK travel rules were two steps behind the rest of Europe,” says Willie Walsh, director general of the International Air Transport Association. “The UK tourism sector has been affected with countless jobs lost.”
He added, “While the measures announced today are a step in the right direction, there is no reason to delay canceling the wasteful and ridiculously expensive PCR screening for fully vaccinated travelers. If this is the right thing to do, let’s get started.” that”.
“Travel and tourism has been hit by the pandemic and 62 million jobs have been lost globally,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council. “This move to ease restrictions and open up more key destinations will help restore consumer confidence and get the UK moving again.”
She added: “While this is certainly a step in the right direction, the government should adopt a system based on risk for individuals, not countries… Putting entire countries on red lists makes no sense if you can keep the UK safe with a status check. individual and allow fully vaccinated people to travel safely to almost anywhere in the world.”