Red list and hotel quarantine ‘set to be scrapped’

The government’s red list of countries and hotel quarantine restrictions are ‘set to be scrapped’ as the Covid-19 threat from overseas declines.

Hotel quarantine is expected to be replaced by a requirement for travellers to isolate at home for 10 days, according to sources talking to The Telegraph.

The newspaper said ministers will meet on Thursday (October 28) to consider scrapping the red list and quarantine rules “in face of the declining Covid threat from abroad”.

The red list has been updated every three weeks since it was introduced as part of the UK’s traffic light system in May. After the last change, on October 7, only seven countries remain on the list. Hotel quarantine was first introduced in February.

The Department for Transport told Travel Weekly it was “not able to speculate on any timings or details of any announcements” this week.

The Telegraph said its sources were “almost certain” the government would lift the restrictions on Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“It is understood next week’s Cop26 global summit on climate change in Glasgow, which delegates from the seven countries are attending, is a factor,” the Telegraph reported.

It also pointed out that Australia, which pioneered hotel quarantine policies, is abandoning the tactic in favour of vaccination as a defence against Covid-19.

The report said scrapping hotel quarantine may not be announced on Thursday, and might not be enacted until the New Year.

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.

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