//India added to ‘red list’

India added to ‘red list’

There are now 40 countries on the list.

India has joined the UK’s travel red list following second wave of infections across the country.

British and Irish nationals can travel to the UK from India, but must now isolate in a government-approved hotel.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said that more than 100 cases of an Indian variant of coronavirus had been detected in the UK. He told the House of Commons: “The vast majority have links to international travel and have been picked up by our testing at the border.”

He added: “After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.”

The Global Travel Taskforce recently set out its approach for restarting international travel. A traffic light system, which will categorise countries based on risk alongside the restrictions required for travel, will be set up.

The Department for Transport said that key factors in the assessment will include:

  • the percentage of their population that have been vaccinated
  • the rate of infection
  • the prevalence of variants of concern
  • the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing

At the time, Mark Tanzer, chief executive of ABTA, said: “The travel industry now has a much-needed framework for the restart of international travel and it is good to see Government maintain its ambition for overseas travel to start from May 17 if the circumstances allow.

“While the framework isn’t perfect – the requirement for a PCR test when you arrive back from a green list country could prove a cost-barrier for many people – we welcome the fact that the Government commits to engaging with industry on this issue. Small changes, like requiring a PCR test only if the individual gets a positive result from a lateral flow test, would make international travel more accessible and affordable whilst still providing an effective mitigation against re-importation of the virus. The Government should also consider whether those who have been vaccinated can be exempt from testing requirements, should scientific evidence suggest reduced transmissibility.

“Given that the summer season is a short window, which is critical for the survival of many travel companies, it is important the Government regularly reviews the green list, ensuring that those countries which meet the criteria are added as soon as possible. Closing off destinations unnecessarily will significantly affect the industry’s opportunity to recover this summer.

“We also need to hear more from government on their plans to provide targeted ongoing support for travel businesses, as it is clear the recovery of the sector will be gradual.”