New travel rules: What tests do I need and where is on the red list?

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Fully vaccinated travellers are to pay less for Covid tests after arriving in England and Wales.

Cheaper lateral flow tests can be used instead of PCR tests from 24 October in England - and a week later in Wales.

What are the new rules for tests?

From 24 October, fully vaccinated people coming to England will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival.

Instead, they will be able to take a cheaper and simpler lateral flow test.

PCR tests cost upwards of £50 per passenger - more than twice the price of many lateral flow tests.

The change also applies to under-18s who live in the UK or one of about 100 countries, whether or not they are vaccinated.

Passengers need to book tests before travelling to the UK. They must send a picture of their lateral flow test to verify the result.

The lateral flow tests for travel must be bought from private providers - NHS kits cannot be used.

Travellers will still need to complete a passenger locator form.

Wales will introduce the same changes from 31 October. Scotland and Northern Ireland have indicated they may follow but have not confirmed a date.

What other rules have changed?

Since 4 October, fully vaccinated passengers travelling to the UK from any non-red list country, no longer have to take a Covid test before setting off.

This applies to people vaccinated in the UK, the EU, the US and dozens of other recognised countries - including Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.

You must be able to prove you are fully vaccinated.

The changes also apply to under-18s resident in one of these countries, whether or not they are vaccinated.

What if I'm unvaccinated?

If you aren't fully vaccinated - and you're 18 or over - you still have to self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK.

You also need to

Test to Release will remain an option for unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten their quarantine.

What else do I need to do before I travel?

You need to keep checking the rules for your destination country as these can change at short notice.

For instance, Morocco has suspended flights to and from the UK because of rising Covid cases.

The UK Foreign Office provides country-by-country travel advice.

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Which countries are on the red list?

Red-list countries are those the government says should not be visited "except in the most extreme of circumstances".

There are now only seven destinations on the red list:

  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Haiti
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

If you have been in one of these countries in the last 10 days, you cannot travel to the UK.

The only exception is if you are a UK or Irish national, or UK resident - in which case you need to:

These rules apply whether or not you have been fully vaccinated.

Rates for quarantine hotels are:

  • 10 days (11 nights) for one adult, £2,285
  • Additional adult (age 12+), £1,430
  • Children aged five to 11, £325
Image source, Getty Images

What else has changed?

The destinations weren't on the government's red list, but non-essential travel was not recommended because of fears about how Covid was being managed.

The change should make it easier for people to get travel insurance.

People who took part in vaccine trials such as Novavax have also been told they will now be offered two doses of another vaccine, to make it easier to travel to countries where trial vaccines are not recognised.

Can I visit the US?

From 8 November, fully vaccinated travellers from 33 countries - including the UK - will be able to travel to the US.

Vaccinated people who have had a negative test within the previous 72 hours will be allowed to enter.

The new rules include those who have received the AstraZeneca jab, as well as China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, despite the fact that these are not used in the US.

Visitors will not have to quarantine on arrival.

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