- Title: England's COVID-19 travel rules simplified in boost to industry
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JANUARY 18, 2021) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) SIGN WITH PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE SIGN DIRECTING PASSENGERS TO COVID-19 TESTING CENTRE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING PAST CORONAVIRUS SAFETY SIGNS ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - MAY 20, 2020) (REUTERS) (MUTE) VARIOUS OF DRONE FOOTAGE SHOWING HOTELS ON BOSPHORUS ISTANBUL, TURKEY (FILE - MAY 21, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HOTEL STAFF MEASURING THE DISTANCE BETWEEN CHAIRS TO COMPLY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING RULES SAN BARTOLOME DE TIRAJANA, SPAIN (FILE - JULY 19, 2021) (REUTERS) 15 . VARIOUS OF TOURISTS AT "PLAYA DEL INGLES" (ENGLISHMAN'S BEACH) LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - FEBRUARY 15, 2021) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF RADISSON BLU EDWARDIAN, HEATHROW BEING USED AS QUARANTINE FACILITY / COACH PARKED OUTSIDE HOTEL SECURITY GUARDS COACH CARRYING NEW ARRIVALS TO THE UK TO QUARANTINE HOTEL COACH PARKED OUTSIDE RADISSON BLU EDWARDIAN, HEATHROW PASSENGERS DISEMBARKING
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 18:21
- Keywords: Britain travel COVID-19 tests Grant Shapps PCR tests UK travel red list traffic light system transport minister travel rules
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / ISTANBUL, TURKEY/ SAN BARTOLOME DE TIRAJANA, SPAIN
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / ISTANBUL, TURKEY/ SAN BARTOLOME DE TIRAJANA, SPAIN
- Country: UK
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003EV3XPVR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Britain simplified rules on Friday (September 17) for international travel to England in a boost to the tourism industry, including scrapping the need for fully vaccinated passengers to take expensive COVID-19 tests on arrival from low-risk countries.
The British government sets policy for England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are in charge of their own rules.
"There's going to be over 50 countries where we're going to recognise their vaccine programmes in addition to the EU and the United States," Shapps said.
Under the new proposals, destinations will simply be ranked low or high risk, instead of red, amber and green.
Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives will be removed from the high-risk red band from next Wednesday which requires passengers to quarantine in a hotel.
From Oct. 4, passengers arriving from low-risk countries will be permitted to take a cheaper lateral flow test, rather than the privately administered PCR lab tests now required. PCR tests for a family now can cost hundreds of pounds.
Airlines and travel companies have argued for months that far-reaching changes were needed to the system or more job losses would follow the 100,000 already lost.
They blamed testing and complicated rules for the slowness of recovery in air travel over the summer.
The industry, already on its knees after 18 months of restrictions, is facing a cliff edge as a government furlough scheme ends later this month with winter approaching when fewer people travel and businesses tend to make a loss.
Data shows that Britain's travel recovery is lagging. UK flights were down 39% compared to pre-pandemic levels for the two weeks to early Sept. 6, while France, Spain and Italy were down between 24-28%, according to Eurocontrol.
Quarantine hotels, where people spend 11 nights in a designated facility at a cost of more than 2,000 pounds, are expected to remain in place for arrivals from high-risk countries.
The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) said the government changes were good news for the industry.
But workers in the sector would be among those most hurt by the end of the government's furlough programme, which has paid salaries of staff sent home during the pandemic and expires at the end of this month.
BALPAS' acting General Secretary Martin Chalk said UK aviation still has "a way to go before it can truly take off again" after what he called a "dire summer season."
He added the ending of the furlough programme would make it hard for "cash strapped airlines" to answer as demand returns.
(Production Lucy Marks, Dina Selim, Hedy Beloucif)
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