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LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will open up more countries for hotel quarantine-free travel later this week, The Sunday Telegraph reported, saying that the UK’s “red list” of destinations would be slashed to nine from 54.
Fully vaccinated arrivals from countries, including South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia will no longer have to quarantine in a government-designated hotel for 10 days when they get to England from later in October, the newspaper said.
The changes are set to be announced on Thursday, and will likely result in a surge of bookings, boosting airlines and travel companies that have been brought to their knees during the pandemic.
The country’s hotel quarantine policy for higher risk countries costs 2 285 pounds (about R46 000) per adult, deterring global travel.
Britain is already planning to relax its travel rules from Oct. 4 by scrapping its amber list for medium risk destinations and no longer requiring fully vaccinated passengers to take a Covid-19 test before they arrive in the country from places not on the red list.
The government has said that from later in October, arrivals in England will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival and can instead opt for the cheaper lateral flow test.
Upon hearing news that the UK likely to remove South Africa from the ‘red list’ when they review their decision on travel restrictions this week, Western Cape Minister Of Finance And Economic Opportunities David Maynier said: “We have worked hard to engage with all key decision-makers both in the UK and in South Africa, including writing to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, on the decision to keep South Africa on the UK ‘red list’ which seems manifestly unfair, requesting that the decision be reviewed and South Africa removed from the UK ‘red list’.
“The UK is a key source market for tourism in the Western Cape.
“And so, removing South Africa from the UK ‘red list’ and easing travel restrictions for those travelling between the two countries ahead of our summer season, will provide much-needed relief for the tourism and hospitality sector which has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.”