The latest travel announcement is a huge reform of the complicated rules on overseas holidays

aerial view of Maldivian beach – mbbirdy/E+

Some good and some disappointing news for travellers from England today. The latest announcement is certainly a fundamental reform of the hugely complicated, unpredictable and frustrating rules on overseas holidays which have made life so difficult over the summer and means that travel for the fully vaccinated has suddenly got cheaper and easier. But our choice of destinations has not increased anything like as much as was hoped for and we are still prey to expensive – and often dysfunctional – private testing companies and we will have to pay around £30 for a lateral flow test when we get home.

So has the government gone far enough, what do the changes mean in practice and what are the implications for those who can’t, or won’t, go for a jab?

PCR testing to be ended in six weeks

Until “later” in October, all returning travellers will continue to be required to take an expensive PCR test (£70 is a typical charge) on the second day after their arrival back in England. For the fully vaccinated, this will then be replaced by lateral flow test (which costs about £30) and only if that is positive would you need to self-isolate and take a PCR test. That will flag up if you had a variant of concern.

Despite the delay in this change, the new rules are primarily welcome for consumers because of the cost saving. But the change also exposes what a questionable requirement the PCR test was in the first place. Take my experience the other day. I took my day two test (which fell on a Sunday) and then had to send it off to be analysed. The sample would have arrived at the lab on Tuesday at the earliest. I didn’t get my result until Thursday. Had I been positive I would have been spreading the infection around for nearly a week. If I’d done a lateral flow test, I would have known on the Sunday that I was infectious and would have self-isolated immediately. Of course, lateral flow tests aren’t as accurate as PCR tests – they may miss some cases – but they can curtail the risks of spreading infection much more quickly.

The ending of PCR tests is something that the leading industry travel industry associations Abta and Aito have been calling for throughout the summer and they welcome the move. However, since some testing will still be required and given the controversy over charges and the reliability of testing companies, Which? is continuing to put pressure on the government to improve the system for consumers – some 80 providers have so far been warned about misleading prices. “Ministers must still implement the competition regulator’s recommendations about the PCR testing system to ensure affordable and reliable tests are available for those who need them,” said Which? Travel editor, Rory Boland.

Pre-departure tests to end

A negative lateral flow test, taken up to three days before your return home, will no longer be required from October 4 as long as you are fully vaccinated. This has been perhaps the most onerous and stressful requirement for returning to England. Not only did you have to arrange a time and place to take your test within the right time frame, you also had to pray if it was negative. If a positive result flashed up on the test kit, you were faced with no choice but to pay for at least another 10 days' accommodation in your destination and, depending on local rules, were at risk of having to go into an isolation hotel. You couldn’t return home until a test came back negative.

From a purely psychological point of view, it was a major disincentive to travel and the removal will be universally welcomed by holidaymakers and the industry. It is yet to be decided whether this must be supervised in person or by video, but it will not be the free NHS lateral flow tests.

The new two-tier traffic light system

Also from October 4, the green and amber lists of the old traffic light system will be merged to form one category of “low-risk” countries, while the number of destinations on the red list will be reduced (see below). Traffic lights seemed like a good idea when they were first introduced. But the way they were managed by the DfT made the system completely dysfunctional. There were too many tweaks, and the introduction of additional tiers – of a green “watchlist” and an “amber plus” category – made the system unmanageable for the travel industry and even more confusing for travellers. And the complete lack of transparency as to how the decisions were made fundamentally undermined confidence in the system. Countries could go red at short notice no matter what their current status and it was impossible for anyone to guess what changes would happen when. Meanwhile, for the vaccinated, the difference between green and amber was non-existent.

Now at least, we have a simple stop-go system – though we are still vulnerable to sudden changes in the listings either by the DfT, or through a change in Foreign Office travel advice. And it seems we still won’t know exactly what data is being used and how the decisions are made.

Not surprisingly, the scrapping of the traffic lights has largely gone down well with the mainstream travel industry. Alan French, CEO at Thomas Cook, said that the simplification will enhance consumer confidence and boost holiday bookings later in the year and into 2022. However, for long-haul travellers and operators the red list is still a major problem to contend with, and one potential downside of the new two-tier system is that airlines and tour operators may row back on some of the flexible booking conditions which they have been offering to customers. That would be a negative step in uncertain times.

people in lake surrounded by boulders – Tuul & Bruno Morandi /The Image Bank Unreleased

The world is opening up – but only slowly

The reduction of the red list from 62 countries to 54 is nothing like as radical as was hoped. Especially since quarantine rules for two of the key countries – Kenya and Sri Lanka – effectively rule them out as holiday destinations. However, the news that holidays to Egypt, the Maldives, Oman and Turkey can now restart is definitely a positive. The first two are important winter sun destinations (Oman is also a good winter choice) and though it is late in the season for holidays to Turkey, Istanbul is a great city to visit year round.

However, Justin Wateridge of Steppes Travel was hoping for much greater changes to the red list. “NHS data has showed that less than 1.5 per cent of red and amber list arrivals have tested positive. As The Telegraph has reported, more people caught Covid on staycations this summer than on foreign holidays. We need the government to open travel now… [and allow] travellers to make their own decisions based on risk.”

His views were echoed by Nick van Gruisen of the Ultimate Travel Company. “While relaxing the testing regime for travellers is a welcome step forward, the confidence of long-haul travellers will only return when the red list is cancelled or drastically reduced allowing for worldwide travel to the vast majority of countries.” In the meantime, everyone arriving back from a red zone destination – whether unvaccinated or vaccinated – will continue to face 10 days of hotel quarantine at a cost of up to £2,285 per adult.

What about the unvaccinated?

Until now, travellers who have not had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine must take a PCR test and are not required to self-isolate after arriving from a green list destination. The biggest surprise of the announcement is that all unvaccinated people will now have to take a day two and day eight test on arrival in England, as well as self-isolate at home for 10 days. They can pay extra for a day five test and be released from quarantine if they are negative. They will also have to continue to take a pre-departure lateral flow test, which must obviously be negative, before they are allowed back into the country. The tests will cost about £130 and the quarantine will obviously be a huge disincentive to travel.

What does the announcement mean for half-term holidays?

Half term for most schools is from October 23-31, so assuming day two PCR tests are replaced with lateral flow tests by then, families arriving home will make substantial savings on testing. A family of four will pay about £120 for day two lateral flow tests instead of £400 for the current requirements.

What happens next?

Reviews of the red list will continue to be announced by the DfT every three or four weeks and the system looks set to stay in place until the New Year. There is no guarantee however, that restrictions may not be tightened again if the pandemic worsens or a dangerous variant emerges.

And let’s not forget…

While the UK government has made travel more straightforward for vaccinated holidaymakers, it doesn’t have the power to require other countries to let us in and we still depend on the rules made in the destinations we want to visit. And we don’t necessarily look like the most attractive of guests. Many countries have now caught us up when it comes to vaccination programmes and our infection rates are still among the highest in Europe. Holland has only just decided to let us back in. Other countries may decide to keep us out.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

The Republic of Leith is cool and the Giles Street community is the coolest of the cool – Susan Morrison

Right now, Leith isn’t so much fashionably cool as Baltic freezing. The first snap of autumn has hit us. It’s time to look out the semmits and scarves and climb ... Read more »

Pollutionwatch: the solvable problem of home wood burners

In 2010, air pollution scientists from three of Europe’s biggest cities – Paris, Berlin and London – sat down together. Our data showed a new and consistent pattern. Air pollution ... Read more »

East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill calls on Scottish Government to subsidise new ferry services to continent

© Superfast launched the ferry service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in 2002. Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article. The former ... Read more »

Stop overfishing or we'll buy elsewhere, top UK fish firm warns European states

The UK’s largest seafood processor is threatening to stop sourcing fish from the north-east Atlantic unless coastal states, including the UK and countries in the EU, reach a suitable agreement ... Read more »

Warriors vs. Clippers: How to watch live stream, TV channel, NBA start time

© Provided by CBS Sports Apr 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; NBA referee Brent Barnaky (36) makes a call in the second quarter of a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers ... Read more »

Law enforcement officials testify at legislative hearing that prosecutorial discretion is making police work less effective

Oct. 22—Law enforcement leaders had some choice words for recent prosecutors' policies at a state senate hearing Thursday. “Absurd,” “a slap in the face,” “a mistake,” “frustrating” — to name ... Read more »

Sensex tops 61K, rises 400 points; Nifty nears 18,300 level

NEW DELHI: Domestic equity indices were off to a positive start on Friday, ahead of the quarterly earnings of Reliance Industries, the most valued stock on Dalal Street. The indices ... Read more »

Airtel shares up over 1% a day after closure of rights issue

Kolkata: Bharti Airtel shares rose over 1% in Friday morning trade on BSE a day after a host of big-ticket fund houses, including Lion Meadow Investment, Mirae Asset Large Cap ... Read more »

Trump's account on his Truth social media app may have already been hijacked

The announcement of Donald Trump’s social media platform is less than 24 hours old, but the problems are already piling up—including the possible hacking of Trump’s own account. Truth Social ... Read more »

Man, 31, charged for allegedly assaulting girlfriend, 3 officers on Kilauea Avenue

Oct. 22—Prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old man for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and three responding police officers in Waialae. Andrew L.K. Hopkins made his initial appearance before Judge Melanie May ... Read more »

Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar made their boring flight super fun. Watch

Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar in a picture together. (Image courtesy: Instagram) Milind Soman and his wife Ankita Konwar are avid Instagram users. They often share updates from their day-to-day ... Read more »

'Project Runway' Season 19, Episode 2 Recap:“#Streetwear”

© Bravo In episode 2 of Bravo’s Project Runway season 19, the competitors assembled three-piece streetwear ensembles. But one designer, Meg Ferguson, went completely off the rails. Here, we break ... Read more »

UAE weather: Decrease in temperature, chance of light rain

© Provided by Khaleej Times UAE weather: Decrease in temperature, chance of light rain UAE residents can look forward to a dip in temperature on Friday. According to the National ... Read more »

Melbourne reopens as world's most locked-down city eases limits

© Provided by Al Jazeera Australia’s second-largest city has endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of restrictions during six separate lockdowns since March 2020 [Sandra Sanders/Reuters] People in Melbourne ... Read more »

Watch: One Year Old Briggs Has Become The Youngest Influencer To Earn ₹75,000 Month Just By Travelling

© Nikhil Khattar Viral Video: There is a small little baby who is viral on Internet. He travels and earns big amount of money every month. This Little baby Travels ... Read more »

Open Thread: October 22, 2021

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own ... Read more »

Angelina Jolie's Daughters Upcycle her Previous Red Carpet Looks for Eternals World Premiere

© Provided by News18 Angelina Jolie’s Daughters Upcycle her Previous Red Carpet Looks for Eternals World Premiere One of the perks of having Angelina Jolie as your mother is the ... Read more »

Khadi in bridal wear fashion show says its all

© IANS Khadi fashion show Lucknow, Oct 22 (IANS) Khadi is no longer a dull, drab fabric meant only for politicians’ wardrobes. A fashion show organised by the Khadi Gramodyog ... Read more »

ZEEL-Invesco Case: Bombay High Court To Decide On EGM Today. Details Here

© Kritika Bansal | India.com Business Desk ZEEL-Invesco Case New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) to call an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) ... Read more »

Scent Snobbery: What No One Wants To Admit About The “Smelly Kid”

A lot of people turn their noses up at people who perhaps don’t smell great or wear fancy perfumes. Scent snobbery is common in the beauty world, where discrimination is ... Read more »

JEE Advanced Result 2021: AAT result to be declared today, here's how to check

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will declare JEE Advanced Result 2021 for AAT exam on October 22, 2021. Candidates who have appeared for Architecture Aptitude Test can check their result ... Read more »

India's vaccine program science bound, science-driven, science-based: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India’s vaccination program is based on science. He was addressing the nation after India reached the 100 crore vaccination mark a day ... Read more »

Spooky Season Is Here: Watch a 'Ghost' Take Off This Dog's Collar in Viral Video

Everybody loves a good ghost story, especially during Spooky Season. That might help explain why more than 13 million people have watched this TikTok in which, seemingly, a ghost takes ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin fired prop gun that killed crew member, injured director on movie set

One person was killed and another was wounded after Alec Baldwin’s prop firearm discharged on the set of the movie “Rust” on Thursday, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s ... Read more »

Democrats Back Away From Raising Tax Rates to Pay for Agenda

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration and congressional Democrats are moving toward dropping their push to raise corporate and individual income tax rates to pay for their sprawling domestic policy bill, ... Read more »

Analysis: Joe Biden returns to retail politics to rescue his biggest deal yet

Joe Biden, showing candor and good humor, on Thursday reminded America why it picked him as President in a dark hour of crisis. But, at a CNN town hall in ... Read more »

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu Slams Anti-Vaxxers: 'I Don't Need Crazy Getting in the Way'

GOP Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has slammed anti-vaxxers among his own party, saying that crazy conspiracy theories had to be shut down. © Maddie Meyer/Getty GOP New Hampshire ... Read more »

Revealed: Britain's most hated taxes

Inheritance tax has been crowned as the most hated type of tax in the UK. Photo: Getty Inheritance tax has been crowned as the most hated type of tax in ... Read more »

Ruby Wax on life after loneliness: ‘I always felt isolated. Mindfulness helped me drop my armour'

Loneliness was in our lives long before lockdown. We all pretended to be part of one big happy electronic family by zinging back and forth a few heart-shaped emojis to ... Read more »

Cancer patients face ‘perfect storm' as Covid piles pressure on NHS

Progress in clearing the NHS cancer treatment backlog in England has gone into reverse amid high Covid cases and staff shortages, analysis suggests. With rising coronavirus hospitalisations also now piling ... Read more »

Cricket-England's Morgan uncertain if he will play 2023 ODI World Cup

Third Twenty20 International – England v Pakistan (Reuters) – England's white-ball captain Eoin Morgan expects to play in next year's Twenty20 World Cup but he is not certain he will ... Read more »

Tyson Fury's trainer Sugarhill Steward on emulating his legendary uncle: 'The bloodline means something'

Emanuel Steward predicted Tyson Fury would rule the heavyweight division but never foresaw his nephew leading the way. Interview with Sugarhill on his family genes, a sense of humour amid the chaos, and cutting down trees Read more »

Trae Young and the Hawks' confidence soars, while Jason Kidd's Mavericks debut sinks

ATLANTA — Luka Doncic and Trae Young will spend the entirety of their NBA careers connected to one another, and in Thursday night’s season debut, they connected, violently. Doncic, listed ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin shooting – update: Actor fatally shoots cinematographer and injures director with prop gun on Rust set

© Getty Images GettyImages-1345530823.jpeg LIVE – Updated at 05:34 Alec Baldwin misfired a prop gun on the set of his film Rust, that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director ... Read more »

Opinion: Biden was relaxed, funny, in command. But that won't be enough

President Joe Biden is facing the most difficult period of his still-young presidency, but you wouldn’t have known it watching the relaxed, optimistic, joke-cracking politician who took questions at the ... Read more »

Najib mohon tangguh lawatan ke Singapura

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Najib Razak berkata beliau akan berlepas ke Singapura pada 21 Nov dan pulang pada 5 Dis. KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak memfailkan permohonan untuk menangguhkan ... Read more »

Warga Indonesia maut ditikam rakan senegara

© Provided by Sinar Harian KUANTAN – Seorang pekerja kilang warga Indonesia maut akibat ditikam rakan senegara dalam pergaduhan di rumah kongsi pekerja sebuah kilang papan di kawasan Perusahaan Batu ... Read more »

Passengers may get to use credits if we fly again, says AirAsia X

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today AirAsia X owes about RM600 million to passengers and travel agents but will be liable to pay only 0.5% of that if its debt ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on movie set, killing cinematographer

© Reuters/Mike Blake FILE PHOTO: 69th Primetime Emmy Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles By Bhargav Acharya (Reuters) -Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set in ... Read more »

Singapore dollar to average slightly stronger in 2022 at S$1.3400/USD

© Provided by Singapore Business Review The previous projection was at S$1.3600/US$. The Singapore dollar is expected to slightly strengthen versus the US dollar in 2022. In its latest outlook ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic