SCI members may have heard that the United Kingdom plans to open its borders to travelers later this month when it expects to remove many of the social distancing restrictions currently in place. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his government would decide by July 12, 2021, whether to relax restrictions on citizens and residents of the UK. He also said he is working with the travel industry to allow fully vaccinated people from certain destinations to enter the country without having to quarantine.
In a televised address on July 5, Johnson discussed implementing a five-point plan to increase vaccination rates, move away from restrictions, and allow the UK to operate as close to normal as possible. The changes would allow the reopening of all businesses, and the lifting of restrictions on gatherings, social distancing, and requirements to wear masks. For travelers, it could mean that vaccinated persons from more than 60 “amber-listed” countries can travel to the UK without needing to quarantine. A final announcement is expected on July 12.
The UK categorizes countries according to a green, amber and red system, reflecting COVID threat levels. Green-listed countries currently have the lowest threshold of restrictions, requiring only a negative COVID-19 test and two follow-up tests, one on day two of entering the UK and the second test required on day eight, but no quarantine. Travelers from amber-listed countries must do the same testing, as well as self-isolate for 10 days at home or wherever they are staying. As for red-listed countries, only citizens and residents from the UK may enter after a 10-day managed quarantine in a government approved hotel.
Johnson says the red list will remain in place, but fully vaccinated travelers from amber countries will not have to quarantine anymore, once the final decision is implemented. He said he would be working with the travel sector to make these changes and the transport secretary would provide a more detailed update later this week. Unvaccinated travelers will continue to quarantine.
The amber list includes the United States and Canada as well as many countries in European, West Africa, Asia (from the Middle East to the Far East), plus the Caribbean and South America. See the complete list on the UK Government website.
The red list currently stands at just over 50 countries, including a number of important hunting destinations such as Argentina, Botswana, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.