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New Travel rules as red list set to be slashed (UPDATE)

The government has scrapped a piece of Covid-19 travel guidance which blocked people from getting insurance for destinations around the world.

It comes as ministers prepare to whittle down the red list even further and return international travel to as close to normal than at any point since the pandemic began.

Advice against ‘all but essential travel’ to 32 countries has been ripped up, a move which makes getting cover much easier.

The foreign office has confirmed it will no longer advise against travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds, except in exceptional circumstances such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.

It recognised ‘many insurance companies’ were using the advice as a ‘reference point in their policies’ and refusing to cover them.

The move is part of a wider simplification of travel rules which has seen the traffic light system replaced and testing requirements for vaccinated travellers eased.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: ‘These rule tweaks will make travelling more straightforward, supporting businesses and families right across Britain – and allow more of us to see friends and loved ones with greater peace of mind.

Travel rules for 32 more countries scrapped
Tougher travel guidance for some countries not on the red list meant it was previously almost impossible to get insurance for these destination (Picture: Getty Images)

The full list

  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Armenia
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Benin
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Tokelau and Niue
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • French Polynesia
  • Fiji
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Liberia
  • Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Solomon Islands
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu
The advice gave insurance companies grounds to refuse cover even where a country was not on the red list (Picture: SOPA Images/LightRocket)

‘We’re striking the right balance between keeping people safe which remains our priority and giving them the freedom to exercise personal responsibility, while supporting the travel sector as it continues to recover.’

Countries on the red list will still carry the warning but the government is looking to slim it down in the near future.

Ministers were reportedly considering slashing the ‘no go’ list of destinations to just nine last week, with changes expected to be introduced in the coming days.

As of October 4, double-jabbed travellers no longer need to take a pre-departure PCR or post-arrival lateral flow and instead will only have to complete a single lateral flow two days after they land.

A passenger walks past signage displaying the way to a Covid-19 test centre, in Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport in London
Testing requirements for travellers who have received two doses of a vaccine have been scaled back as of this week (Picture: AFP)

The traffic light system has been scrapped in favour of a simplified distinction where countries are either on the red list or not.

Restrictions have been tightened on unvaccinated tourists, with mandatory 10 day home quarantine and PCR tests required for all destinations.

There will still be stringent quarantine requirements for red list countries under the new arrangements, with arrivals required to pay £2,285 for a single adult to stay in a managed hotel for 11 nights.


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