The UK relaxed entry rules for 47 countries and territories that were subject to the strictest Covid-19 restrictions, in the latest step to remove travel restrictions and reactivate tourism-dependent businesses.
South Africa, Mexico and Brazil are among the places from which visitors no longer require a 10-day hotel quarantine, the Department of Transportation said on Thursday. Only seven nations, all in Latin America, will remain on the so-called red list after the changes take effect on Monday.
The UK is easing border restrictions after frustrating airlines with ever-changing rules for most of the pandemic. This week a new system went into effect that eliminates the complicated “traffic light” approach, and destinations such as Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives have already moved to the “rest of the world” category.
“It finally feels like we’re seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel,” said Sean Doyle, chief executive of British Airways, in a separate statement. The airline will begin increasing flights to South Africa and Mexico, with daily service to Johannesburg and twice-daily flights to Cape Town by the end of the year.
Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela will remain on the red list, the DfT said.
The UK also advanced on a separate policy that has sparked protests for fairness: its failure to recognize vaccine certifications issued in various nations, including India and South Africa. The UK will now accept documentation from vaccinated travelers in those countries and 35 more places, including Brazil, Ghana, Pakistan and Turkey, bringing the total to 105.
With the US set to lift its visitor ban from Europe and several other major markets, airlines are now optimistic that long-haul travel, including the lucrative North Atlantic market, will soon surge.
“Once we have a firm date for the reopening of the US borders in November, we look forward to reconnecting our two countries,” said Doyle.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps has now become an advocate for speeding up international travel, hosting a meeting of G-7 ministers to discuss vaccine passports and the timing of the US border changes. USA
The latest measures come a day after Britain stopped recommending nonessential travel to 32 green list countries, including Ghana and Malaysia, a change the government says removes a barrier to obtaining travel insurance for women. visits there.
Despite progress, the relaxation of UK rules has not gone as far as the airline, hotel and restaurant industries would like. The Airport Operators Association said the continued requirement that passengers take a Covid-19 test two days after arrival will put some travelers off.
Britain averaged just under 39,000 new coronavirus cases a day over the past week, according to data compiled at Johns Hopkins University. Daily deaths averaged 110, well below the peaks reached in January.
© 2021 Bloomberg