Australia travel rules changes discussed by Calder
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And Boris Johnson is set to slash the red list to just nine countries from 54 this week, opening up dozens more destinations for quarantine-free travel. Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand are among countries likely to be rubbed off the list in changes expected to be announced on Thursday. It means travellers from those destinations will no longer need to quarantine in hotels when they return to the UK.
The move is set to be announced in time for half-term holidays and will likely result in a surge of bookings.
Ministers say today’s new rules, which began at 4am, will make travel “easier and cheaper”. Those arriving from a red-list destination such as the Philippines will still be required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel costing £2,285 for solo travellers.
But fully vaccinated residents and unvaccinated under-18s from more than 50 countries can now enter the UK without a pre-departure lateral flow test.
Neither will they need to take a day-eight post-arrival PCR test, costing around £65, or self-isolate at home. But they will still have to take a day-two post-arrival PCR test.
Under-11s are already exempt from pre-departure testing. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.
“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.”
The easing of restrictions has been welcomed by the travel sector. Tim Alderslade, of trade body Airlines UK, said: “There is still much to do though. This is not job done.
“In the short term the removal of PCR testing by the October half-term week is critical, and we look forward to clarity on the start date for this as soon as possible.”
No date has been set for when eligible fully vaccinated travellers arriving in England will be able to use a cheaper lateral flow test rather than a PCR version.
The Department for Transport said the Government “aims to have it in place for when people return from half-term breaks”.
Yesterday, a further 43 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid.
● The common cold may be putting pressure on the Covid testing system with 800,000 in-person tests in England in the week to September 22 – the highest for eight weeks.
Results returned within 24 hours fell to 75 percent, down from 87 percent the previous week. Many people have reported being hit by a “super cold”.
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