Fri, 22 Oct 2021

LONDON, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Friday that the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries will be scrapped to simplify international travel amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the government's plans for overhauling international travel, there will simply be a red list from Oct. 4 and all other countries will be considered "clear" for travel.

"Today's changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry," said the transport secretary.

"Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape."

The government has also announced that from 4 a.m. BST (0300 GMT) on Sept. 22, eight destinations will be removed from the red list, including Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.

The previous amber and green lists will merge into a "Rest of World" (ROW) list. Anyone in a country on this list who's fully vaccinated will no longer have to take a PCR test three days before travelling to England.

From the end of October, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace day-two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

However, those who visit one of red list countries are still required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel upon arrival in Britain.

More than 89 percent of people aged 16 and over in Britain have had their first dose of vaccine and more than 81 percent have received both doses, the latest figures showed.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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