Latin America opens to UK as all countries removed from travel red list

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi explains what's been changed about the Covid rules on travel

The final seven countries remaining on the UK's travel red list are set to be removed, the government has confirmed.

It means returnees from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will no longer be required to quarantine for 11 days in hotels.

Downing Street is insisting that countries could still be added to the red list in the future, with hotel quarantine remaining an option if the coronavirus situation dramatically worsens in a particular nation.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We will keep the red list category in place as a precautionary measure to protect public health and are prepared to add countries and territories back if needed, as the UK's first line of defence."

Changes will take force from Monday at 4am.

The move provides a boost to travel firms and holidaymakers, with each country likely to experience warm weather in the winter months ahead. It brings the UK into line with most of the rest of Europe.

The UK is also set to recognise the vaccination programmes of another 30 countries, meaning double jabbed travellers will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival - there are now 135 countries on that list.

The remaining requirements for holidaying abroad:

The change means the requirement for travellers to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 has been scrapped entirely for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Vaccinated or not, travellers are no longer required to take a PCR test two days after arrival, following a rule change on October 24 which means they can take a cheaper lateral flow test instead.

There's also no need for fully vaccinated travellers to take a Covid test before setting off, after a relaxation of the rules on October 4.

Requirements for unvaccinated travellers

Unvaccinated people are still required to quarantine for ten days at home, no matter which foreign country they are returning from.

They are also required to take coronavirus tests, either a PCR or lateral flow, in the three days before travelling to the UK, another on or before day two and again on or after day eight after returning.

Remember to check the Covid rules in the country you're travelling to

Hopeful travellers are also advised to check entry requirements of their destination countries before they book holidays.

In the Dominican Republic, for example, anyone wanting to travel there from the UK is required to present a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination, with a final dose taken no fewer than three weeks before arrival.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: "There's no justification now for any country to be on a red list or for hotel quarantine to be in existence.

"There have been no new variants of concern since May and countries are now learning that blanket border measures, such as blocking whole countries, don't work.

"The best approach is to check for an individual's vaccine status and ensure they are up to date if they want to travel without restrictions."