Covid travel: Red list changes explained as tests for holidays become easier

What are the latest changes to the Covid travel rules? ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry explains

Big changes to the country's Covid travel rules will make it easier and cheaper to enjoy trips as restrictions around red list countries are relaxed and testing regulations eased.

Later this month passengers returning to England will no longer need a PCR test, the prices of which have been a point of issue since the system was introduced, and can instead take a cheaper lateral flow.

The red list has been revised too with just seven countries left on it.

What Covid tests will I need to do if I'm travelling overseas?

From late October - before the end of half term - PCR tests for returning vaccinated travellers will be scrapped and replaced by cheaper lateral flows in England.

It means double-jabbed travellers arriving home from any non-red list country will be allowed to replace their day two PCR test with a lateral flow.

If the result comes back positive, they must follow it up with a PCR test and they can get one for free through the NHS booking system.

What are the key updates that will affect returning travellers?

Travellers will also be able to show proof of their negative lateral flow test by photographing the result and sending it across - though the finer details of this are yet to be explained.

The change follows fierce criticism of a number of PCR test providers over soaring prices and delayed results.

Rules have relaxed for foreign visitors to the UK too, with travellers from the EU, the US, and 37 other countries now facing the same travel rules as fully vaccinated UK residents.

It means they'll no longer need a pre-departure lateral flow test to enter the UK, and they just need to take a day two test once here.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explains how testing is changing:

Which countries have been taken off the red list?

From 4am on Monday October 11, 47 new countries and territories will be taken off the red list meaning arrivals won't need to stay in a quarantine hotel when they get back to England.

Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa and Thailand are among some of the destinations that will open up for easier travel.

Rules are also being relaxed for fully vaccinated travellers arriving into England from 37 countries and territories, including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

They will be treated the same as double-jabbed British residents as long as they have not visited a red list country in the 10 days before arriving in the country.

The Department for Transport said the data for all countries and territories will be kept under review and the government "will not hesitate to take action where a country’s epidemiological picture changes"

Will the travel lists change again?

The transport secretary refused to be drawn on whether the list would change again.

"We know that coronavirus can and does change," he said.

"But having said that - after a year-and-a-half and our whole country vaccinated, other countries becoming highly vaccinated as well - we’ve got a level of stability that we’ve just not had.

"And that’s really why today we’re able to take this major step forward in both simplifying and opening up the world’s travel."

Which countries will remain on the red list?

Just seven countries remain on the red list.

They are: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

It means that passengers arriving into England from these nations - or have visited them in the 10 days prior - must go into a mandatory quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a price of £2,285 for a solo traveller.

This applies to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers.

Coronavirus: What you need to know