Travel red list and mandatory hotel quarantine to be scrapped next week

UK ministers are looking into the possibility of removing the red list and putting the hotel quarantine programme on hold as early as 1 November.

As COVID-19 cases abroad have fallen considerably, the UK government is considering removing all travel bans including the red list while putting the mandatory hotel quarantine on hold.

Only 7 countries left on the red list

With only seven countries currently left on the red list, ministers are meant to gather later today to consider removing the list altogether. Among the seven countries included on the list, yesterday 27 October, Colombia reported 1,680 new cases while Venezuela—another supposed at-risk country—counted 911new cases. The UK, on the other hand, saw nearly 44,000 new cases being reported.

Though the red list might be completely scrapped, mandatory hotel quarantine will be put on hold indefinitely but remain an option in case of an upsurge in cases in the future.

As it stands currently, people coming from any of the seven countries are obliged to self-quarantine in a government approved isolation institution that is costing travellers £2,285 for 11 nights. If the proposal is approved, the abolition of the red list and suspension of the hotel quarantine programme would come into effect as of Monday, 1 November.

Could hotel quarantine be scrapped altogether?

According to reports, the decision is now being backed up by the Department of Health. A Whitehall source said:

The Department of Health is minded to remove all the remaining countries from the red list given the public health advice.

Adding that:

But the hotel quarantine policy will remain in place as a safety net, in case the situation changes. Countries could go on if there is a concern at some point in the future

What's more, similar to what Australia is doing, the UK is also considering binning the hotel quarantine programme altogether in favour of a 10-day at home isolation period. However, this new development might only become available in the coming year.

COVID: New concerning strain forces UK to add these countries to red list COVID: New concerning strain forces UK to add these countries to red list