Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Bangladesh off UK's red list, easier testing for arrivals

Prasun Sonwalkar/London
Filed on September 17, 2021
File photo

Testing rules for travellers who have got both vaccines will be relaxed from October 4.

The Boris Johnson government on Friday announced that Bangladesh will be one of eight countries who will be taken off the ‘red list’ from September 22, meeting a long-standing demand, while testing rules for double-jabbed arrivals will be relaxed from October 4.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the simplified system for international travel in light of the success of the UK’s domestic vaccine rollout, providing greater stability for industry and passengers. The rules will currently apply only to England.

The current traffic light system will be replaced by a single ‘red list’ of countries and territories. Testing requirements will also be reduced for eligible fully vaccinated travellers, who will no longer need to take a pre-departure test when travelling to England from 4am on October 4.

From the end of October, eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their post-arrival Day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test, reducing the cost of tests on arrival into England.

The government intends to introduce this by the end of October, aiming to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks.

Anyone testing positive will still need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, Day 2 and Day 8 PCR tests.

Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry”.

“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than 8 in 10 adults vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape”.

The countries and territories that will move off the ‘red list’ are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Turkey, and Kenya. Changes will come into effect at 4am September 22.

Passengers who aren’t recognised as being fully vaccinated with authorised vaccines and certificates under England’s international travel rules, will still have to take a pre-departure test, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test and self-isolate for 10 days upon their return from a non-red list country under the new two-tiered travel programme. All passengers will still need to fill in a passenger locator form ahead of travel.

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