Covid: Turkey, Pakistan, and the Maldives removed from red travel list

Plane landing at Heathrow airport in London.
Plane landing at Heathrow airport in London.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also confirmed destinations will simply be ranked low or high risk, instead of red, amber and green

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England set out measures to boost international travel on Friday, abandoning expensive Covid-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, scrapping its traffic light system and adding eight countries to its safe list.

Travellers returning to England from Turkey, Pakistan, and the Maldives will not have to quarantine on their return as they are removed from the so-called Covid red list for travel, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Shapps also said under the new proposals destinations will simply be ranked low or high risk, instead of red, amber and green.

"We’re making testing easier for travel," he said on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, the Transport Secretary said testing was being “made easier” from October 4, while current requirements for post-arrival PCR tests would be replaced by lateral flow tests later in October.

Meanwhile, the traffic light system of countries on green, amber and red lists is being replaced with a single red list, simplifying rules on travel for non-red list countries.

Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives, are being removed from the red list from 4am on Wednesday September 22.

He said: “TRAVEL UPDATE: we’re making testing easier for travel From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.

“In addition, EIGHT countries and territories will come off the red list from Weds 22 Sept at 4am, incl. TURKEY, PAKISTAN and MALDIVES.

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct , replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today we have simplified the travel rules to make them easier to understand and follow, opening up tourism and reducing the costs to go abroad.

“As global vaccination efforts continue to accelerate and more people gain protection from this dreadful disease, it is right that our rules and regulations keep pace.”

The Department for Transport confirmed the eight countries coming off the red list as of 4am on Wednesday are Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.