The British government said Thursday that it is to relax travel rules further next week, a move that will open up many long-distance holiday destinations to travelers for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic a year and half ago.
In its most dramatic move, it said it will be lifting the hotel quarantine requirement for arrivals to England from 47 countries, including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand. Though the announcement only relates to England, the other nations of the U.K. – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have generally followed suit.
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After the change comes into effect on Monday, there will only be seven countries — Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela — on the so-called “red list,” which requires all passengers to enter hotel quarantine for 11 nights at a cost of 2,285 pounds ($3,100) for individual travelers.
However, they will still need to take a series of coronavirus tests before and after their arrival, and go into self-isolation for ten days unless the British government recognizes a country’s vaccination status certificates and the vaccines used. It recognizes the vaccines of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as their formulations such as AstraZeneca Covishield.
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The government also restated its ambition to allow eligible fully-vaccinated arrivals to use a lateral flow test, rather than the more expensive gold standard PCR test, by the end of the month. Travelers, it said, will be able to verify they have completed a lateral flow test by sending a photograph.