UK relaxes Covid travel curbs for India, institutional quarantine exempted

The United Kingdom on Wednesday updated its latest Covid-19 travel update for some countries including India, moving it from the ‘red’ to ‘amber’ list with effect from August 8.

“The UK government has announced an update to the ‘Red-Amber-Green’ traffic light ratings for arrivals into England. From 4am (BST) on Sunday 8 August, India will move from the red to the amber list,” the British High Commission in New Delhi said in a statement.

Apart from India, other countries shifted to the ‘amber’ list are — Bahrain, Georgia, Mexico, UAE, and Qatar, and the French overseas territories of Reunion and Mayotte.

Under the legal rules for countries on the amber list, passengers must undertake a Covid-19 test before and after arrival in England.

“You must take the test in the 3 days before you travel to England. On your arrival in England, you must: quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days. Also, you must take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8,” it said.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we’ve made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world. While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public.”

However, travellers need not quarantine or take a day 8 test after arriving in England if an individual is either, “fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas”, or “under 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK part of a UK-approved vaccine trial”.

In April, the UK government had added India to ‘red’ list as the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic gripped the South Asian country. The ‘red’ list bars travel and mandates a compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine for returning British residents.

The UK government’s decision to lift India from ‘red’ to ‘amber’ comes despite the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, continues to be the dominant variant in the UK, leading to a huge spurt in cases.


Meanwhile, seven countries are moving to the ‘green’ list Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway and France has been moved off the “amber watchlist”.

“The fully vaccinated amber rules will apply to France. At the same time, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will move to green list. Bahrain, India, Qatar and UAE will move to amber list. Georgia, Mayotte, Mexico and Reunion will move to red list,” the announcement said.

This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watchlist to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.

For countries on the green list, people will not have to quarantine when returning from these nations, regardless of their vaccination status, although they will have to take a pre-departure test and another one two days after arrival.

The “green watchlist”, which gives travellers notice of countries whose green status is at risk of changing, remains in place and is unchanged with 16 countries on the list.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said, “As we learn to live with this virus, we are continuing to take steps to safely reopen international travel based on the latest data and expert public health advice.”

“The vaccines have already prevented around 60,000 deaths and 22 million infections in England and, with over 7 in 10 adults in the UK now double-jabbed, we are building a wall of defence against the disease,” Javid said.

All classification changes have been decided by ministers, informed by the latest data and analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and wider public health considerations, to help the public understand the risks to public health of travelling to different destinations.

All measures announced have been designed to give travellers and the travel sector more certainty, will be kept under review, and further action may be taken to protect public health.

Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.

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