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The new rules of entry to the UK

Going home for Christmas? Thousands of GCC-based expats certainly hope so. Here are the latest Covid-19 regulations

Check list for vaccinated passengers

Following the latest risk assessment, from 15 December 2021, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has removed all 11 remaining countries from the UK’s red list.

Passengers entering the UK from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will no longer have to stay in a managed quarantine hotel on arrival in England.

All vaccinated passengers arriving in the UK must continue to take a pre-departure test (PCR or lateral flow) two days before they depart for the UK. Evidence of the reduced incubation period of the Omicron variant means passengers should take the pre-departure test as close to their scheduled departure time within two days as possible.

Vaccinated passengers must then take a PCR test on or before day two following their arrival, and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Anyone who tests positive will need to stay in managed quarantine.

Unvaccinated passengers must self-isolate for 10 days in addition to taking a pre-departure test, and a PCR test on day two and eight. The test to release option to shorten self-isolation periods to five-six days remains in place.

These testing measures are vital in helping to prevent any additional cases of Omicron from entering the UK, stopping travellers from passing it on to others if they are infected, and in helping government to monitor the risk posed by overseas travel.

The government recognises the impact that temporary health measures have on the travel and aviation industry.

These measures will be reviewed again on 5 January 2022

The government would like to extend its thanks to South Africa once again for their early sharing of information and continued engagement which is helping the global community better understand the risks posed by Omicron.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “There is community transmission of Omicron in the UK and Omicron has spread so widely across the world the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad.

“While we’ll maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4am 15 December.”

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added: “With community transmission here, as well as similar rates around the world, it’s right that we remove the 11 countries from our red list and these changes are the next sensible steps as we continue to tackle this variant.

“We remain focused on meeting our booster target for all adults by the end of the year, and while we will keep our travel testing measures in place for now, we will review this position in the first week of January.”

Managed hotel quarantine and restrictions will be re-imposed should there be a need to do so to protect public health. Airlines must continue to check all passengers for pre-departure tests. Passengers will not be allowed to board a flight without providing evidence of a negative test result. Passenger must complete passenger locator form.

The UK government is offering every adult citizen who has had a second dose of the vaccine at least three months ago the chance to get a booster jab before the New Year.

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