England will stop forcing all travelers to self-quarantine at government-designated hotels on Monday, removing the last seven countries from its “red list” for coronavirus risk.
The change, announced Thursday, ends restrictions on passengers from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
“Whether it’s bringing family members together or facilitating business commerce, the successful deployment of the vaccine both at home and abroad has allowed us to reach this important milestone. Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary, said in a press release.
So far, 65% of people in Britain have received a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 68% have been fully vaccinated, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data.
The change follows announcements earlier this month that relax testing and quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, reduce England’s traffic light-inspired three-tier system to a single ‘red list’ and removes 47 countries from this list.
But it comes at a time of concern over the state of the pandemic in Britain. Reported cases have undergone a long wave, initially sparked by infections in children – Britain has moved relatively slowly to immunize children ages 12 to 15 – but has since spread to older age groups. advances.
The UK adult vaccination campaign has been early and swift, and deaths and hospitalizations have not returned to levels seen in previous outbreaks. However, they are now significantly higher than elsewhere in Western Europe, and hospitalizations are at their highest level since March, when the country was in the midst of a long nationwide lockdown.
In Wales, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford has warned that restrictions could be reinstated in the coming weeks to ensure a “normal” Christmas holiday. New measures, which could see coronavirus passes extended to theaters, cinemas and concert halls, could also be introduced, according to the BBC.
With the easing of travel to England comes space for a reversal as well. The government has said it will continue to review whether countries should be added to the red list every three weeks.
Sajid Javid, UK Health Secretary, said the government would continue to book a number of rooms in “standby” hotels, in case quarantine requirements were to be reinstated.