International

UK eases travel rules, but does not list countries

By PTI

LONDON: Simplified international travel rules went into effect in Britain on Monday, easing quarantine and testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from more than 50 countries, and the Conservative government vowing it would regularly travel to more countries. Will try to expand the rules.

Nevertheless, the rules have sparked anger in many developing countries, particularly India, which have been excluded from the list of countries whose vaccination programs are accepted by UK authorities. The New Delhi government said on Friday that British nationals traveling to India will have to undergo a COVID-19 test and 10-day quarantine, similar to measures imposed on Indian residents traveling to the UK.

As part of the new regime, Britain eased entry requirements for fully vaccinated travelers from 18 countries, including Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. It builds on a pilot phase with the US and most European countries that began in the summer.

The Department of Transportation said it would take a “phased approach” to recognize vaccines administered by additional countries and territories.

“The UK government continues to work with international partners as we look to expand the policy to further countries and territories on a more regular basis,” the department said.

Under the new rules, Britain scrapped its traffic light system for international travel, which introduced separate rules for travelers from countries across three different categories of COVID-19 risk. There are now only two categories: a “Red List”, which restricts most non-essential travel, and the rest of the world.

But travelers from non-red list countries are not treated equally.

People who have been fully vaccinated with one of the four authorized vaccines and have a certificate from an accredited public health agency are now required to quarantine without a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test and on arrival. You are not allowed to enter the UK.

But travelers arriving from countries whose vaccination programs are not recognized by UK authorities will still have to show pre-departure testing and quarantine for 10 days.

Most countries in Africa and South America, as well as major Asian countries such as China, India and Vietnam, do not have UK-authorized vaccination programs.

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