Britain is planning to remove restrictions such as the travel ‘red list’ of seven countries and hotel quarantine due to a declining COVID-19 threat from abroad, according to reports.
UK ministers will meet on Thursday to consider removing the final seven countries, including Colombia and Venezuela, from the red list, The Daily Telegraph reported.
The potential move – which is understood to be backed by the Department of Health – would effectively end the need for hotel quarantine due to the measure only applying to travellers arriving to the UK from counties on the red list.
As of Wednesday, there were only seven countries on the list – Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Those coming from these countries are currently required to stay in a hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £2,285 per person.
Since the programme was implemented at the start of this year at the height of the Covid pandemic, around 200,000 people returning from red-list countries.
It is understood the change will come into effect on Monday.
The hotel quarantine scheme was introduced on February 15 and it is likely to be retained in case another variant is found.
It is believed that the Cop26 climate change summit in Glasgow – which delegates from the seven red list countries are attending – may have put pressure on ministers to scrap the list.
A Whitehall source said: ‘The Department of Health is minded to remove all the remaining countries from the red list given the public health advice.
‘But the hotel quarantine policy will remain in place as a safety net, in case the situation changes. Countries could go on if there is a concern at some point in the future.’
The newspaper also reported that ministers are considering a separate plan to scrap hotel quarantine all-together – which even its pioneer Australia is scrapping in favour of vaccination as a form of defence against Covid.
The hotel quarantine scheme would instead be replaced with a requirement for travellers to self-isolate at home for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.
However, this potential change may not be announced today, The Telegraph reported, and may not be put in place until next year.
Earlier this week, the Government also dropped the requirement of PCR tests for travellers arriving in the UK.
The potential move follows a major cut to the UK’s travel red list when 47 countries were taken off the list earlier this month.
The decision to remove the countries came after NHS data showed Britons travelling to red-list countries were less at-risk of catching Covid than if they started in the UK.
In the middle of this month, the proportion of positive test results from those in hotel quarantine having travelled from red list countries was down to 0.77 percent, or fewer than one in every 120 people.
By comparison, the percentage of people testing positive in the UK was 1.14 percent.
Source: The Dailymail.co.uk