London, Sep 17 (PTI) The UK government on Friday announced a major relaxation of international travel rules for vaccinated people coming in and out of England, with long-haul routes between India and the UK set to benefit.
From October 4, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries based on levels of COVID-19 risk will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.
The scrapping of an amber list, which is what India is currently on, means reduced cost burden for travellers related to compulsory quarantines and PCR tests. From October 4, travellers will also no longer need to take pre-departure PCR tests for travelling into England from abroad.
"Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry,” said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
"Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape," he said.
In the latest update, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are among eight red list destinations moved off the travel ban list from next Wednesday.
From the end of October, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace the current compulsory day-two PCR test requirement with cheaper lateral flow tests. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.