Travel UK update – live: Red list update expected today as Foreign Office drops warning for 30 countries

Ahead of an update to the UK’s red list, expected later today or tomorrow, the Foreign Office (FCDO) has removed its warning against non-essential travel to more than 30 countries.

Bangladesh, Gambia, Ghana and Malaysia are the among the nations removed from the FCDO’s “no-go” list.

The non-essential travel warning has previously been in place even for countries with low infection rates and no variants of concern, and is at odds with the Department for Transport’s (DfT) assessment of risk from travellers returning from such countries.

The FCDO is expected no longer to advise against travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds, except in “exceptional circumstances” such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed.

It follows the government’s streamlining of the traffic light system into two classifications: the red list and Rest of World (ROW) list.

Arrivals from red list countries are still required to pay for 10 days of hotel quarantine.

The next review of the red list is anticipated to be announced today, 7 October, or Friday 8 October.

Industry figures have been making their predictions for countries that could come off the red list – with data analysts favouring Argentina, Chile, South Africa and possibly Mexico as movers.

Follow the latest travel news below:


47 countries removed from red list, according to reports

A total of 47 countries have been removed from the UK’s red list for travel in the latest government update, Politics for All is reporting.

The account has tweeted that the remaining countries will be: Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela.

If true, this would mean that dozens of destinations, including Argentina, Thailand, Tanzania, Costa Rica and Mexico will be bumped up to the ‘rest of world’ (ROW) list, allowing vaccinated arrivals from those countries to England to bypass quarantine.

The UK government has not yet confirmed the changes to the red list, which are expected to be announced today.

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 17:17


Israel to allow in individual tourists from next month

Israel is planning to allow individual tourists to enter the country from November, the country’s tourist office has said.

Currently only organised groups of between five and 30 tourists are permitted to enter – and they must be from certain countries categorised as yellow and orange.

But the tourism office is working on loosening restrictions to allow individual tourists to travel to the country from next month, Travel Weekly reports.

Austria, New Zealand and Hong Kong are all on Israel’s low-risk yellow list, while the UK and US are both on the medium-risk orange list.

The Israel Government Tourist Office said the easing of restrictions from November was “in order to rehabilitate the tourism industry and to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people working in the industry can earn a living”.

Israel may open up to individual tourists from November

(Getty Images)

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 16:35


What time is the red list update expected?

The Department for Transport is expected to announce an update to the UK’s red list for travel today.

Three weeks ago, on 17 September, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced major changes to the UK’s travel rules, with the former traffic light system being reduced to two simpler lists: a red (no-go) list, and the Rest of the World (or “ROW” list).

Today marks the date when the 54 countries on the red list are set to be reviewed and potentially updated.

But what time is the announcement expected?

Here’s everything we know:

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 15:34


Red list having ‘continued impact on people’s lives’ says travel boss

The amount of countries on the red list is having a “severe” effect on people’s lives, says Travel Advantage Partnership CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said.

“It’s easy to lose sight that over 50+ countries are red listed & continued impact this has on people’s lives is severe,” she tweeted after yesterday’s Foreign Office update, with a screen capture of her scrolling through the 54-country list.

“Today’s update from #FCDO in simplifying their guidance & aligning as much as possible with #DfT red list is positive but managed quarantine has to go.”

Many figures in the travel industry are calling for a dramatic reduction to the red list, arguing that many countries have a good case for being removed at this stage.

An update to the red list is expected later today, though no time has been confirmed by the UK government.

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 15:18


Three of Europe’s top airlines by volume of flights is low cost

Three of the top seven airlines in Europe for flights this week are low cost.

The latest figures from Eurocontrol’s director-general, Eamonn Brennan, show that the busiest airline in Europe is Ryanair.

During the past seven days it has operated 2,318 flights per day – that’s just 9 per cent down on the last sensible year, 2019.

In second place is Turkish Airlines, down 13 per cent. Third is easyJet, down a massive 41 per cent, reflecting the fact that so many of its flights serve the UK which has much tighter travel restrictions than anywhere else in Europe.

The next three places are taken by Lufthansa, Air France and the French carrier’s partner, KLM. Wizz Air occupies seventh place. British Airways is nowhere to be seen.


Simon Calder7 October 2021 14:11


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Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 13:16


South Africa, Dominican Republic, Mexico should come off red list, says analyst

South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are overdue a removal from the red list, according to data analyst Ben McCluskey.

In a Twitter thread, McCluskey predicted that several countries could come off the red list this week, but disagreed with industry rumours that the list could be slashed to around 10 countries from 51.

“There’s been plenty of media speculation suggesting perhaps only 9 countries will remain ‘red’. I hope that happens, but I wouldn’t count on it given the government’s previous track record!” he tweeted.

“In the upcoming review of the ‘red’ list, we really should see countries like South Africa, the Dominican Republic & Mexico come off. All of which should have come off three weeks back, but sadly that didn’t happen,” he wrote.

McCluskey also predicted that “several South American countries will remain red” in the update, which is expected to be announced later today.

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 12:55


Appetite for travel to Europe from long haul markets still weak

Intention to travel to Europe between September and December remains weak for key long-haul markets, a study by the European Travel Commission (ETC) and Eurail shows.

The research anticipates short-term travel intentions in five overseas markets – Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the US – every four months.

Today’s results show that long-haul travel sentiment in the US is positive, but Americans are less confident about travel to Europe due to unstable or changeable travel restrictions, Travel Weekly reports.

There was still interest in multi-country trips to Europe, the ETC reported, highlighting the need to align travel rules and systems more closely across the region.

ETC president Luis Araujo says: “While it is heartening to see some increase in desire to travel internationally and visit Europe, these latest results clearly demonstrate that more work needs to be done to boost tourism to Europe from key overseas markets.

“Travellers are still hesitant to consider Europe as a destination right now.

“Looking towards 2022, it is imperative that we strive to implement more harmonised travel rules in Europe and globally and create greater clarity for long-haul travellers.

“As vaccination campaigns keep progressing, it is time to shift the focus from a risky country to a risky traveller.”

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 12:36


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Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 11:10


Copenhagen named world’s safest city

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its 2021 Safe Cities Index, with Copenhagen coming out on top, followed by Toronto and Singapore.

As well as personal security or safety, the Index takes into account digital, environmental, infrastructure and health security, with each city’s reaction to the pandemic and Covid mortality rates factored in this year.

In the report, Copenhagen’s lord mayor Lars Weiss praised the feeling of equality in the city, saying: “Copenhagen is also characterised by great social cohesion and a relatively narrow wealth gap. It is a mixed city where both the cleaning assistant and the CEO meet each other at the local supermarket and have their kids in the same school. This is one of the very cornerstones of Danish culture, and it contributes greatly to the high levels of trust and safety that we benefit from .”

Lucy Thackray7 October 2021 10:35


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