England has updated its traffic light system, affecting the rules for travel and quarantining for inbound travelers and returning Brits for a number of destinations. Canada, Denmark and Switzerland have been upgraded to green, while popular holiday destinations including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal have retained their place on the amber list.
International travel in England resumed under a traffic light system in May, which categorizes countries into green, amber or red based on their COVID-19 risk. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have similar rules in place too. The system is reviewed every three weeks and today it was announced that Canada was among the countries bumped up to green after making strides in its vaccination campaign in recent weeks. The move comes as Canada prepares to open its borders to international travelers from around the world in September, including UK holidaymakers.
Denmark was among the countries upgraded to the low-risk green category for travel ©Eugene Anball/500px
But it’s bad news for travelers planning a trip to Thailand as the Southeast Asian country was designated a high-risk country. It joins Montenegro on the red list, which closes off non-essential travel to England from these places due to rising coronavirus case numbers. The new rules will come into effect on Monday, August 30 at 4am.
If you plan to travel to England, be aware that regardless of the traffic light system, all arrivals (except those traveling from within the UK or Ireland) aged 11 and over must take a PCR test before entering the country, as well as another test on day two of their arrival. Travelers are also required to fill in a passenger locator form. Then, depending on where you are coming from, there are some additional requirements to consider.
France was one of the countries bumped to amber ©Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
What are the rules for green list arrivals?
The green list represents destinations where infection rates are low and vaccination rates are high and are therefore considered low risk, so no quarantine rules apply. Regardless, all arrivals must present a negative COVID-19 result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before traveling to England. They must also take a second test upon arrival in England and fill in a passenger locator form. That includes vaccinated passengers too.
Destinations on the green list include Germany, Austria, Norway, United Arab Emirates, India, Qatar, Bahrain, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Liechtenstein, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and Hong Kong among others.
What are the rules for amber list arrivals?
The amber list is made up of mid-risk countries and some of England’s major outbound tourist destinations make up that list. Travelers arriving to England from amber countries are exempt from quarantine provided they have been fully vaccinated in either the UK, EU or the US. They will still need to take a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before flying to England and present a negative result. They’ll also need to book a second test to be taken upon arrival in England and fill in a passenger locator form.
Travelers arriving into England from amber countries who have been vaccinated elsewhere will have to quarantine for 10 days at home or in their holiday accommodation. They’ll need to take two COVID-19 tests when they arrive too: one within 48 hours of arrival in England, and the second on day eight of their quarantine period. This is in addition to their pre-travel test which must be taken no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight and the completion of the passenger locator form too.
What are the rules for red list arrivals?
Non-essential travel from red-list countries, that is places where the risk of COVID-19 is still very high, is banned. Only British and Irish citizens or UK residents can travel into England from these places but they must quarantine at a government-approved hotel at their own expense. The cost is currently £2285 for a single adult for the duration of the quarantine. For children between the age of five and 12, the cost is £325.
Passengers arriving from red-list countries are requested to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival, and a second one on or after day eight of quarantine. The rules apply to all arrivals, regardless of vaccination status.
This article was first published on August 5 and updated on August 26, 2021.
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