The British government has confirmed that it is removing the red list for international travel from 4 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday 15 December.
Announced today by Health Secretary Sajid Javid in the House of Commons, the move comes in response to the rapid global spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Several ministers had suggested in previous days that the list could be removed now that the UK has seen widespread cases unrelated to recent travel.
“Now that there is community transmission, less red travel is less efficient,” Mr. Javid said.
However, the recently announced testing requirements will remain in place.
A total of 11 African countries were put on the UK’s once-empty Red List between November 29 and December 4, including South Africa and Nigeria, with returning travelers given short notice that they would have to pay thousands of dollars to quarantine hotels in the UK.
In other news, Amazon is one of the latest retailers to join the PCR testing effort, with its own government-approved £ 35 PCR kit available for day two and day eight testing.
Follow all of the latest travel updates below:
The red list will be removed from Wednesday
The British government has confirmed that it is removing the red list of international travel, as of 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
Announced by Health Secretary Sajid Javid in the House of Commons today, the move comes in response to the rapid global spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, which ministers say has rendered the most travel restrictions unnecessary. strict.
The 11 African countries currently designated “high risk” by the Ministry of Transport will be removed from the red list from 4 am tomorrow.
The testing requirements, however, will remain in place.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 2:28 PM
Redlist could be removed tomorrow, Whitehall reporter says
The UK government is set to empty the red list again, claiming the spread of omicron has effectively rendered the list “useless”, according to unconfirmed reports from the UK government. Financial Time‘Whitehall editor-in-chief Sebastian Payne.
Payne tweeted: “NEW: UK clears red list.
“Whitehall officials confirm that all 11 countries (including South Africa) will be removed as of 4 am tomorrow.
“The Covid-O meeting is going on imminently. Ministers accept the spread of omicron, which means the restrictions are ‘unnecessary’.”
The UK government has not confirmed any changes to travel rules or the Red List at this point, with the next official review and update due on December 20.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 1:44 PM
New BA branch to take over easyJet at Gatwick
British Airways has unveiled the first destinations of its new low-cost branch of Gatwick. Flights begin from Sussex Airport on March 29, 2022.
The first destinations are Amsterdam, Larnaca and Paphos in Cyprus, the Spanish airports of Seville and Tenerife and Verona in Italy.
Initially, it will operate with just three Airbus A320s, but by the end of May the fleet will expand to around 35 European destinations.
But the airline stresses that the product will remain the same: “Customers will receive the same high level of service they expect from British Airways and enjoy the benefits of traveling with the UK’s national carrier, including a generous baggage allowance. , free water and snacks, free seat selection and frequent flyer benefits that include lounge access, ”reads a statement from BA.
Simon calderDecember 14, 2021 1:36 PM
Amazon launches new £ 35 PCR travel test
Online retail giant Amazon has launched a new PCR travel test, along with a “general test kit” for home use.
At £ 34.99, the all-purpose retailer’s test kit is one of the cheapest on the market, with similar budget prices available from Randox or Tui – but only with a ‘click and collect’ discount to pick up the first, and a customer discount from the latter.
RT-PCR kits are processed by Amazon’s in-house lab, which has been used for months to test frontline workers and Amazon employees.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 12:28
New rail link means you can travel from Portugal to Singapore by train
A new rail link in Laos means you can now travel from Lagos in Portugal to Singapore by train alone.
Analysis by rail blogger Mark Smith, alias The man in seat 61, and Reddit users calculated that the 11,654-mile trip could be completed in 21 days – assuming there are no layovers at each destination.
Stops and connections along the way include Paris, Moscow, Beijing, and Bangkok, making this a great Europe-Asia tour.
The missing link was a new section of railway in Laos, which was completed on December 2 and connects the Laotian city of Boten with the capital, Vientiane.
From there, you can take a high speed train in China to connect to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 11:40 AM
Indonesia earthquake triggers tsunami warning
A 7.3 magnitude underwater earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Flores, prompting the country’s monitoring agency to issue a tsunami alert (which was later canceled).
The victims of the underwater earthquake are not immediately clear. However, authorities said several buildings and public property suffered damage as photos showed roads opened up by the quake.
Areas facing an immediate tsunami threat include the Moluccas, eastern Nusa Tenggara, western Nusa Tenggara, and southeast and southern Sulawesi.
Magnitude 5.6 aftershocks were felt in Larantuka, authorities said. The earthquake was also strongly felt in Makassar in South Sulawesi, according to reports.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 11:08 AM
12-15 year olds can access proof of vaccination to travel
All 12-15 year olds vaccinated in the UK can now apply for a proof of vaccination travel letter, the Health Secretary said.
In a tweet last night, Sajid Javid said: “Starting today, all 12-15 year olds who have received both doses of the vaccine can apply for a #NHSCovidPass letter for international travel.
“This will give parents the confidence to book their vacations in the future thanks to our fantastic vaccination program. “
Vaccination and vaccine passports for children are hot topics right now as several travel destinations begin to ban people without proof of vaccination from their indoor sites.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 10:26 AM
Little justification for keeping the red list, says Javid
The Health Secretary said the rationale for maintaining the strict travel measures introduced in response to omicron is “downplayed” now that the variant appears to be becoming dominant in the UK.
Sajid Javid was responding on Monday to a question from the main Labor MP, Ben Bradshaw – a member of the select transport committee.
“Since we already know that the omicron variant is becoming the dominant variant in our capital, rapidly spreading across the country, the justification for having rules is downplayed,” Mr Javid said, adding that ‘he would like them to be removed “quickly”.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 9:10 AM
Red List restrictions no longer “appropriate”, CBI chief says
Tony Danker, CEO of the CBI, called on the government to remove the current travel restrictions caused by the omicron variant.
“The main issue remains the major restrictions in place for international travel, which may have seemed worth considering a week or two ago, but now that omicron is ubiquitous across our country, [it] doesn’t feel that these measures, these restrictions, seem appropriate now, ”Danker told the BBC Today program.
“We support the government’s intention to prioritize public health, but the government needs to recognize what is really going on in our economy. “
Danker was on the schedule to discuss the impact of omicron-related measures and debates on businesses, including the hospitality industry, which he said suffered a slump after the variant was detected.
“We cannot claim that there has been a modest effect on demand – there has been a massive effect on demand,” he added.
Lucy thackrayDecember 14, 2021 8:20 AM
PCR tests for sale on Amazon
Amazon has started offering PCR testing to travelers arriving in the UK – with a single ‘second day’ test offered at £ 34.99.
The government reintroduced the need for PCR testing two weeks ago, over concerns about the spread of the omicron variant. The move offered test companies the prospect of higher profits – but some companies, including Collinson, missed their own deadlines due to “logistical issues.”
Loyalty site Head for Points says, “It’s important to note that Amazon doesn’t outsource this to a third-party vendor. It will use a lab in Salford, which was set up last year to process tests from Amazon employees. “
Simon calderDecember 14, 2021 7:57 AM