Travel red list: The MAJOR changes expected this week – three holiday hotspots to go green

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Today, the UK said ‘Bon Voyage’ to the traffic light system for travel restrictions, with Mr Shapps introducing a simplified system of the ‘red list’ countries and the rest of the world. There are still currently 54 countries on the UK’s red list, but it is rumoured the list will be slashed to just nine countries in the next travel update. What holiday destinations could be opening up? And when is the next UK travel update?

Today, the UK introduced new travel restrictions, scrapping the previous ‘traffic light’ system and replacing it with just two categories: red list and Rest of World (ROW).

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.

“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight in 10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.”

Thanks to the new rules, fully-vaccinated travellers from over 50 countries arriving in the UK from countries on the ‘ROW’ list no longer need to take pre-departure tests, day eight tests, or isolate upon returning to the UK.

This has both made travel slightly easier, as well as removed some of the costs of testing, for vaccinated travellers travelling to certain countries. But what about what’s left of the red list?

What countries are still on the red list?

Following the latest update to the red list, there were 54 countries left as no-go zones as of September 22.

After returning to the UK from a red list country, travellers will have to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 days.

Managed quarantine hotels are pricey, with an 11-night stay costing £2,285 for a single adult.

And if you arrive in England from a red list destination without a quarantine stay booked, you can be handed a £4,000 fine.

In his last update to the travel lists, Mr Shapps defined red list countries as “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

However, rumours are flying around that the red list will be slashed to just nine countries, liberating three of British holidaymakers’ favourite foreign destinations from the most severe travel restrictions.

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The Sunday Telegraph reported Brazil, South Africa and Mexico could all be removed from the red list and added to the Rest of World list this week.

South Africa has been on the red list for seven months, but last week South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed he had spoken to Boris Johnson.

When South Africa was placed on the UK’s red list in February there were fears about the Beta variant, however today there are fewer coronavirus cases in South Africa than in the UK.

Mr Johnson met with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro last month, and while the two discussed coronavirus and the global vaccine rollout, there is no record of them discussing travel restrictions between the two countries.

Tim White, a data expert who has become famed for his travel list predictions on Twitter, tweeted yesterday he is “very confident” Mexico will be removed from the red list in the next update.

When it comes to all the latest news on UK travel restrictions, make sure to keep returning to Express.co.uk where we will bring you the updates as we receive them.

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