The green and amber lists have been merged to form one category of low-risk destinations, but the red list still remains.
We want to hear from you: let us know what you think about this story and be part of the debate in our comments section below
However, the number of locations categorised as high-risk has been reduced, with just 54 destinations now included.
The new two-tier system will place more focus on vaccination status, with those who are fully jabbed enjoying more freedom to travel.
Here’s what you need to know about the red list rules and when restrictions could change.
What are the rules for travelling to red list countries?
The rules for travelling to red list destinations apply whether you are fully vaccinated or not.
Those returning from a red list country or territory are required to spend 11 nights at a quarantine hotel, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers, and take a Covid-19 test on day two and day eight of self-isolation.
Travellers must also take a Covid-19 test in the three days before arrival in the UK and complete a passenger locator form.
These rules apply to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
Children aged 11 to 17 must also take a Covid-19 test in the three days before returning to the UK.
On arrival, children aged five to 17 must quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 full days and take two Covid-19 tests.
Those aged four or under do not have to take any travel tests but must enter managed quarantine.
If you make a transit stop in a red list country on your return to the UK, you may need to follow the red list rules when you arrive.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are accelerating towards a future where travel continues to reopen safely and remains open for good, and today’s rule changes are good news for families, businesses and the travel sector.
“Our priority remains to protect public health but, with more than eight-in-10 people now fully vaccinated, we are able to take these steps to lower the cost of testing and help the sector to continue in its recovery.”
When will the red list be reviewed?
Since the traffic light system for travel was introduced, the government has conducted a review of the country lists every three weeks based on assessments of the Covid-19 risk in each destination.
The latest of these reviews came on Friday 17 September when the government announced the overhaul of the travel system.
The changes of each review have tended to take effect from 4am four days afterwards, to allow people time to get home from a country where rules are changing if required.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Transport Select Committee on 22 September that the travel list reviews would continue to follow the same three-weekly timetable.
As such, this means that the next update should come on either Thursday 7 or Friday 8 October.
As for a review of the international travel rules, the Department for Transport said: “We will look to set out a further review for the UK’s international travel policy early in the new year to provide further certainty for the spring and summer 2022 seasons.”
Which countries are currently on the red list?
A total of 54 countries are currently included on the red list, meaning travellers who have visited or transited through these locations must quarantine on return to the UK and take two Covid-19 tests.
The red list is expected to be cut significantly following with the next review, with South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Cape Verde and Indonesia among the countries set to be opened up to quarantine-free travel, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The countries on the red list at the moment include:
- Cape Verde
- Congo (Democratic Republic)
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- French Guiana
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Trinidad and Tobago
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.