Travel red list and hotel quarantine set to be scrapped –

A source said: “There is a strong desire to abolish the red list, but a final decision will be taken on Thursday. It has been very much the expectation with the added pressure of Cop26.”

Earlier this month, there was a major cull of the red list when 47 countries were removed in one of the biggest reopenings of foreign travel since the start of the pandemic.

The moves come amid a dramatic weakening in the threat of Covid from overseas, with NHS data showing that Britons travelling to red list countries now have less chance of catching the virus than people who remain in the UK.

The proportion of positive test results from red list travellers in hotel quarantine dropped to 0.77 per cent in the middle of this month – fewer than one in 120 people. In contrast, the proportion testing positive in the UK stood at 1.14 per cent.

The red list and hotel quarantine was primarily set up to counter the risk from variants, but the only one now being detected is the delta strain – which is already dominant in the UK.

Paul Charles, the chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “There’s no justification any more for keeping any country on the red list. They should follow Ireland, who made the same decision a month ago to take every country off its red list with immediate effect.

“It would be a popular move by the Government, especially with so many ministers coming for Cop26, including ministers from countries like Panama which are on the red list. It doesn’t look good for them to be inviting countries that are still on the red list to Cop 26.”

Earlier this week, the Government also eased the testing regime for fully jabbed holidaymakers returning to the UK by replacing expensive PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow swabs. It follows the scrapping of the pre-departure tests for double vaccinated travellers coming back to the UK.

Unvaccinated travellers are still required to take pre-departure tests, two PCRs on arrival and have to quarantine on their return to the UK.

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