From Monday October 4 the UK's entrance requirements change.
From today, the United Kingdom will switch from a traffic light travel scheme to a vaccinated-or-unvaccinated entrance system.
Fully vaccinated travellers who have been jabbed in a country recognised by the UK will be able to enter without having to isolate and without having to take a pre-departure test or a day eight test. The only requisite is that a day two PCR test (which can be taken any time between the day of arrival and day two) is taken. It's anticipated that by the end of October, the PCR day two test will be replaced with a cheaper, lateral flow test.
However, this also means that travellers from more than 100 unrecognised countries and territories, including Hong Kong, will not be considered as vaccinated, even if they have received two inoculations in that country or territory.
The UK currently recognises vaccines administered in 27 European Union states, a handful of non-EU European states, as well as the United States of America. The 36 countries recognised are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States and Vatican City.
Along with the launch of the new entrance requirements, 18 additional countries will be added to this list, including Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.
Critically, Hong Kong does not as yet appear on the list of recognised areas, which means arrivals into Britain from the Asian city will now need to self-isolate for up to ten days. Under the traffic light system, Hong Kong was listed as green which meant arrivals did not have to enter a quarantine.
Unfortunately Hong Kong vaccination records did not meet UK requirements for a recognised country or territory as they did not include a date of birth. This issue has now been rectified and Hong Kongers’ digital vaccination records have been updated to include this missing data. It’s hoped that the UK will add Hong Kong to its list of recognised areas by the end of this week. Updates on the UK’s travel system are announced every three weeks with the next announcement due on October 7 or 8.
Fully vaccinated arrivals into the UK from recognised areas must be able to present a paper or digital vaccination record from a state-level public health body including forename and surname, date of birth, vaccine brand and manufacturer, date of vaccination for all doses and country or territory of vaccination or certificate issuer.
Vaccinations recognised by the UK are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen.
Children under the age of 18 years and who are a resident either of the UK or of one of the listed areas can enter the UK without having to enter quarantine or take a pre-departure regardless of vaccination status. However, if they are over 11 years and are NOT travelling from a recognised country or territory, they must follow the same rules as for unvaccinated travellers.
Arrivals without vaccination documentation or from areas not listed must take a pre-departure test within 72 hours of travel, pre-book and pay for day two and day eight tests which must be logged onto a passenger locator form before arrival in the UK, and enter a ten-day quarantine either at home or wherever the traveller is staying (there is an optional early release scheme to exit quarantine on day five at travellers’ expense).
Arrivals who have received a full course of the recognised vaccinations and who arrive from the recognised places will not need to go into quarantine.
While the traffic light system is now largely defunct with no more green or amber light countries, 54 countries remain on the red list, including Thailand, Indonesia, South Africa and the Seychelles, although it is believed many of these places may be moved off the red list at the government briefing at the end of this week.
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