International travel update, 14 December 2021

The government has conducted a review of the temporary and precautionary international travel measures introduced to slow the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

From 4am on Wednesday 15 December 2021, all 11 remaining countries and territories will be removed from the red list. As such, passengers arriving from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will not have to stay in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival in England from this date.

As Omicron cases rise in the UK and in countries around the world, the travel red list is less effective in slowing the incursion of the variant from abroad and these temporary measures are no longer proportionate.

While all countries have been removed, the red list policy remains in place alongside the managed quarantine service policy, acting as a crucial line of defence against the importation of variants of concern.

The additional temporary testing measures for passengers taken in response to Omicron also remain in place. The government recognises the impact that these temporary health measures have on the travel and aviation industry, and they will be reviewed again in the first week of January.

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