UK Government announces travel restriction changes for more than 30 countries

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The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has lifted its advice against all but essential travel for 32 countries and territories. 

The update comes as part of a simplified system for international travel that will replace the traffic light system with a single red list. Furthermore, this update will mean reduced testing requirements for eligible fully vaccinated travelers. This change has been made in light of improved public health in many countries and territories, better understanding of the virus and the decreased risk to British nationals as a result of the vaccine rollout. The FCDO also confirmed that it will remove advisories for more countries and territories in the coming days.

FCDO will lift its advisory against all but essential travel to Algeria, American Samoa, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Comoros, Congo, Tokelau and Niue, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

However, although the FCDO will no longer advise against travel to non-red-list countries on Covid-19 grounds, it may still advise against travel in exceptional circumstances such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed. The FCDO will also continue to advise against all but essential travel for red-list countries and territories where the risk to British travelers is ‘unacceptably high’.

Many travel insurance companies use FCDO travel advice as a reference point in their policies – typically excluding cover for places where the government advises against essential travel. However, people will now be able to purchase travel insurance for a wider range of destinations across the globe.

Foreign secretary, Liz Truss, said, “These rule tweaks will make traveling more straightforward, supporting businesses and families right across Britain – and allow more of us to see friends and loved ones with greater peace of mind. We’re striking the right balance between keeping people safe – which remains our priority – and giving them their personal responsibility back, while supporting the travel sector as it continues to recover.”

In response to this change, Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airport Group (MAG), said, “This is brilliant news for British people who are desperate to travel overseas on holiday, to visit friends and family or for business. Removing so many countries from the red list gives people the most choice they have had since before the pandemic, which will help stimulate the recovery of the UK’s prized aviation sector.”

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