International

UK eases travel advisory restrictions for more countries

By PTI

LONDON: The UK government on Friday eased travel advisory restrictions for 51 further countries and territories, no longer advising against all but essential travel to popular holiday destinations such as the Bahamas, Seychelles and Jamaica.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the change means people will be able to travel to even more destinations with greater ease, covered by travel insurance.

??These updates make travel abroad easier ?? boosting trade, tourism and reuniting friends and families. I am delighted that the safe reopening of travel allows people to exercise personal responsibility and visit more destinations across the globe,?? said UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Friday’s move follows a series of international travel related announcements by the UK government this week, including adding Indians vaccinated with Covishield ?? the India-manufactured Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine ?? on the country’s eligibility list.

From Monday, Indian travelers who have had both doses of Covishield will no longer be required to take pre-departure and day 8 PCR tests or undergo 10-day quarantine at a declared address.

This will bring vaccinated Indians in line with other eligible countries, travelers from where are only required to take a day 2 PCR test after entry into England.

??From 4 am Monday 11 October, eligible travelers vaccinated in over 37 new countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey, will also be treated the same as returning fully vaccinated UK residents, so long as they have not visited a red list country or territory in the 10 days before arriving in England,?? the Department for Transport said on Thursday.

Those not fully vaccinated with one of the four UK-recognised vaccines ?? Oxford/AstraZeneca (including Covishield), Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen ?? must take a pre-departure test, plus day 2 and day 8 tests, and self-isolate for 10 days.

Travelers can also choose to shorten their home quarantine to around five days under the “test to release” service.

India had imposed reciprocal measures, requiring vaccinated British travelers to also quarantine at a declared destination on entry into India, amid a diplomatic row over vaccinated Indians being treated differently from other countries.

??Good to talk to UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Agreed to facilitate travel between our two countries. This will help to implement the Roadmap 2030,?? External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted on Friday in the wake of the UK’s updated travel norms.

Thursday’s announcements include a cull of the UK’s red list of high-risk COVID-19 countries down to just seven, removing an additional 47 off the travel ban list.

The red list operates separately from the FCDO travel advisory, which is more of a guidance on travel rather than a government-imposed regulation.

??With half-term (holidays) and winter sun around the corner, we’re making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite, by significantly cutting the number of destinations on the red list, thanks in part to the increased vaccination efforts around the globe,?? said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

??Our robust border measures have helped protect the phenomenal progress of our vaccination programme, and it is because of this success both here and around the world that we can safely open up travel further and we can visit friends and family abroad,?? added UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

From late October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers will have the option to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, followed by a free PCR test if positive, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.

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