The Somerset Guardian, 13th October 2021

As half-term is approaching and some are planning trips away, I thought it would be useful to use my column this week to give an update about foreign travel following a letter that was recently sent to me by the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. 
The Transport Secretary has assured all Members of Parliament (MPs) that the international travel system in England has been simplified. As of the 4th October 2021, the Government has replaced the traffic light system with a single red list and simplified travel measures for eligible arrivals from the rest of the world based on passengers’ vaccination status. It has, in addition, removed the requirement for eligible fully vaccinated passengers to take a pre-departure test, providing that they are arriving into England from a non-red list country or territory and have not been to a red list country or territory in the last ten days.

From the end of this month, eligible fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace their day two PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England and the Government wants to have this in place for when people return from the October half-term. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost, which can be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants. Passengers taking postal tests will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify the test result. Other options such as in person or video supervised testing will remain available for those that prefer this method.

As of Monday 11th October 2021, forty-seven countries - including South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Thailand - were removed from the red list. The inbound vaccination policy was also expanded to include eligible fully vaccinated passengers who have not been in a red list country in the ten days before their arrival into England, to countries such as Albania, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Serbia and several of the Caribbean islands.

Whilst public health is a devolved matter, rest assured that the Government continues to work closely with the respective administrations on any changes to international travel and aims to ensure a whole United Kingdom approach.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: