From August 8, fully vaccinated travellers from India will no longer have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days as the United Kingdom government on Thursday moved the country from its “red” to “amber list”.
In May, the British government instituted its three-tier “traffic light” system as a way to safely open up cross-border travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the system, British residents going to “green list” countries do not need to quarantine upon their return, but are still required to take Covid-19 tests.
Those coming from “amber list” countries are required to self-isolate at home for 10 days unless they have been fully vaccinated by the British National Health Service, in which case “green list” rules apply. Passengers are also required to take a virus test three days before departure and book in advance two tests to be taken upon arrival in England.
“The UAE [United Arab Emirates], Qatar, India and Bahrain will be moved from the red list to the amber list,” UK Transport Secretary Rt Hon Grant Shapps tweeted on Thursday. “While it’s right we continue our cautious approach, it’s great news to open more destinations for people wanting to connect with families, friends and businesses across the globe, all thanks to our successful domestic vaccination programme.”
In April, Britain added India to its travel “red-list” amid concerns about the Delta variant of the coronavirus. This means that only British or Irish citizens or those who have residence rights in the UK will be allowed entry from India. On arrival, they are required to undergo a compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine.
Last month, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had asked the British government to review its travel ban on visitors from India.
The British government usually announces changes to the travel list every three weeks, after assessing its criteria like coronavirus cases, vaccination rollouts and the quality of available genome sequencing to determine restrictions on different countries.
However, members of the travel sector have criticised the move, accusing the government of causing confusion, the BBC reported. Willie Walsh, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association, said that “the UK has no coherent policy on international travel” and is “destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, has said that his government wants a “balanced approach” to travel to stop new Covid variants from being imported.