Amber list scrapped and end to pre-departure COVID travel tests for fully vaccinated

Posted: 4 October 2021 4:15 pm
News

covid19 traveling

Here’s how today’s rule changes affect travellers to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From today, the government’s amber list of countries has been scrapped and a newer, simplified set of travel rules and tests comes into effect across the UK.

There are now only 2 lists of countries – a red list and a “rest of the world” (green) list.

Fully vaccinated travellers going to countries on the “rest of the world” list will no longer need to take a pre-departure test when arriving in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Day 2 switch: PCR to lateral flow

Later this month, fully vaccinated arrivals to England from non-red countries will also be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a lateral flow test.

The government has yet to reveal the specific date for the change, but the Department for Transport says it aims to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks, which would mean between 22 October and 1 November.

Red list

Returning from a red-listed country still requires a pre-departure PCR test for both fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers. It also entails a 10-day hotel quarantine and tests on day 2 and day 8.

The red list currently comprises 54 countries, but this is expected to be significantly reduced later this week as vaccination uptake rates continue to increase worldwide.

Scotland

Fully vaccinated non-red country arrivals, plus kids aged 11-17, must take a day 2 PCR test, but those aged 10 and below don’t need to take one.

Non-vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries need a pre-departure test, must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take day 2 and day 8 PCR tests.

Red-list arrivals (regardless of vaccination status) must have a pre-departure test and enter a quarantine hotel for 10 days where they’ll be tested. Kids must take the same tests unless they’re aged 10 or below.

Scotland has not yet indicated whether it will follow England’s lead by replacing the day 2 PCR test with a lateral flow test later this month. As it stands, it will still need to be a PCR.

Wales

Fully vaccinated arrivals from non-red list countries must take a PCR test on day 2 through the CTM portal or from a government-listed provider. This also applies to kids aged 5 and above.

Non-vaccinated arrivals to Wales from non-red list countries must have a pre-departure PCR test, self-isolate for 10 days and take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. Children aged under 4 coming from non-red list countries do not require any travel tests. Those aged 5-17 need just a day 2 PCR test.

If you’re coming from a red-list country, you must have a pre-departure test, enter hotel isolation for 10 days and take PCR tests on day 2 and day 8. Children (those under 18) coming from red-list countries follow the same rules as adults.

Northern Ireland

Fully vaccinated travellers coming from non-red list countries will need a day 2 PCR test.

Non-vaccinated arrivals need a pre-departure test, must isolate at home for 10 days and take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8. Under-18s don’t need to self-isolate or take a day 8 test. Over-11s must take a pre-departure test and over-5s will need to do a day 2 PCR test.

Arrivals from red-list countries must take a pre-departure test and quarantine on arrival. Under-5s don’t need to take a day 2 or 8 test, but all others do.

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