Travel rules overhauled today: What are the new testing and quarantine rules?

Simon Calder says current UK travel rules are a ‘mess’

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From Monday, October 4, travel rules for people entering England from abroad have changed depending on vaccination status. The UK Government has also abolished the previous green and amber lists, streamlining them into one “rest of world” list. A “red list” remains in force for countries deemed “high risk”, based on Covid data.

Travel expert Simon Calder said these rules have made it “easier” for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from “most countries”.

However, passengers who are not classed as fully vaccinated in the eyes of the UK Government now face tighter quarantine and testing measures than under the previous “green list”.

What are the new travel rules for vaccinated arrivals into England?

According to the UK Government website: “Fully vaccinated means that you have had a complete course of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before you arrive in England.

“The day you had your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.”

Accepted vaccines must have been administered under either the UK vaccination programme or an approved overseas vaccination programme in a listed country. This list is available on the Government website in full.

Pre-departure testing has now been axed for double-jabbed arrivals into England.

However, travellers must still book and pay for a day two COVID-19 PCR test from an approved provider to be taken after arrival.

Passengers must also complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before arrival in England. This will require a reference code for the pre-booked day two test.

The Government website adds: “After you arrive in England you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day two.

“If you will be in England for less than two days, you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You only need to take the test if you are still in England on day two.”

The rules for fully vaccinated people also apply to UK residents or residents of an “approved country” who are under the age of 18, people who are taking part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK or USA, or UK residents who cannot have a COVID-19 vaccination for a medical reason which has been approved by a clinician.

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What are the new travel rules for unvaccinated arrivals into England?

Green list rules no longer apply to unvaccinated arrivals now that the amber and green lists have been merged into one “rest of world” list.

This means that unvaccinated arrivals now face more testing and quarantine measures.

Unvaccinated travellers must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in the three days before their journey to England.

They must book and pay for a day two and day eight COVID-19 test to be taken after arrival in England.

All travellers must also complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before arrival in England. This form must include the reference codes for both tests.

After arriving in the UK, all unvaccinated people must self-isolate at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days.

Those who need to quarantine may end their quarantine early if they pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

What are the new travel rules for children?

All travellers under the age of 18 are able to travel using the same rules as fully vaccinated people.

This means they do not need to take a pre-departure test but must take a COVID-19 test on day two of their arrival in England.

This test must be pre-booked and paid for, with the reference code included on the pre-departure passenger locator form.

What are the red list travel rules in England?

The Government maintains a list of red list countries based on COVID-19 risk.

These countries could change at any time, so it is important to stay up-to-date with relevant travel information.

Any passenger regardless of vaccination status, due to arrive in the UK from a red list country must take a pre-departure test in the three days before travel to England.

They must then book a quarantine hotel package, which includes two COVID-19 tests to be taken during the self-isolation period.

The cost of a quarantine hotel stay is at the expense of the traveller.

At the time of writing, the price of one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) costs £2,285.

The additional rate for one adult is £1,430, and the additional rate for a child between five and 11 is £325.

All travellers must also complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before arrival in England.

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