UK lifts travel advice against a further 51 countries - what does this mean for holidaymakers?

Thailand is among the countries that has had travel guidance lifted by the government.

The government is lifting its advice against non-essential travel to a further 51 countries and territories.

Popular destinations like Thailand, Indonesia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Cuba are among the list.

It comes after the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) removed travel advisories for 32 countries on Wednesday.

This means that obtaining travel insurance when visiting any of the 83 countries will be much easier for Britons.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “These updates make travel abroad easier – boosting trade, tourism and reuniting friends and families."

The move is part of a new policy to stop advising British passengers to avoid all but essential travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds - excluding “exceptional circumstances”, such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.

The FCDO said the change in policy follows the “improved public health in many countries” and the “decreased risk to British nationals” as a result of the vaccine rollout.

It comes just a day after the government announced a major travel rules shake-up, making it easier and cheaper to enjoy trips abroad as testing regulations are eased and more countries are removed from the red list.

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

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

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.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the "goal" is to have made the switch ahead of this month's half-term break around October 22.

“I’ve spoken to the airports including Heathrow and they even have tests available as you walk through the airport, so you could be done and dusted before you even get home with these things, which will be a massive improvement to having to send off PCR tests to labs and waiting for the results and all the costs involved," he told Times Radio.

"We know that coronavirus can and does change" - the transport secretary refused to be drawn on whether the red list would change again

The red list will also be reduced to just seven countries, after a further 47 are set to be removed from 4am on Monday, October 11.

It was welcome news for many British residents who have been separated from their loved ones in red list countries due to the mandatory stay at a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 for a solo traveller.

Kate Lorimer, who hasn't seen her elderly mum in South Africa for two years due to red list restrictions, told ITV News the rule change gave her "chills" and will "mean a lot for our family" as her son can finally be reunited with his beloved grandmother.

However, just because a country is not on the UK's red list, it does not necessarily mean travellers from Britain can visit. For example, Australia is not accepting tourists until 2022.

Allowing travellers to use lateral flow tests instead of PCRs will make travel much cheaper. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

British Airways reported a five-fold increase in searches for holidays on its website in the hours after the red-list reduction was announced, compared with the same period during the previous day.

Cancun, Cape Town and Johannesburg were among the most popular destinations.

However, it was not good news for all as seven countries still remain on the red list.

People returning from Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, will still have to pay to spend 11 nights at a government-approved hotel.

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.

Which countries will see guidance against them lifted?

On Friday, the FCDO will lift its advice for the Bahamas, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Martinique, Palau, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara.

Advice for a further 42 locations will be lifted on Monday October 11. They are:

  • Angola

  • Argentina

  • Bolivia

  • Botswana

  • Brazil

  • Cape Verde

  • Chile

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Costa Rica

  • Cuba

  • Eritrea

  • Eswatini

  • Ethiopia

  • Georgia

  • Guyana

  • Indonesia

  • Lesotho

  • Malawi

  • Mexico

  • Mongolia

  • Montenegro

  • Mozambique

  • Myanmar (Burma)

  • Namibia

  • Nepal

  • Paraguay

  • Philippines

  • Reunion

  • Rwanda

  • Seychelles

  • Sierra Leone

  • South Africa

  • Sudan

  • Suriname

  • Tanzania

  • Thailand

  • Trinidad and Tobago

  • Tunisia

  • Uganda

  • Uruguay

  • Zambia

  • Zimbabwe

Guidance against the following countries has already been lifted:

  • Algeria

  • Armenia

  • Bangladesh

  • Belarus

  • Benin

  • Comoros

  • Tokelau and Niue

  • Djibouti

  • Equatorial Guinea

  • Fiji

  • Gambia

  • Guinea

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kiribati

  • Kosovo

  • Liberia

  • Madagascar

  • Malaysia

  • Marshall Islands

  • Micronesia

  • Nauru

  • Sao Tome and Principe

  • Senegal

  • Solomon Islands

  • Togo

  • Tonga

  • Tuvalu

  • Vanuatu

  • Congo

  • America Samoa

  • French Polynesia

  • Ghana

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