The United Kingdom on Wednesday (August 5) upgraded India from ‘red’ to ‘amber’ list on its latest travel protocols for COVID-19, effective from August 8. This means fully vaccinated passengers from India will no longer be subjected to compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine in the country.
Under Britain’s traffic light system for international travel, returning from amber list countries means a 10-day quarantining at home.
The change, announced by the Department for Transport, comes into effect from 4 am local time on Sunday.
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“The UAE, Qatar, India and Bahrain will be moved from the red list to the amber list. All changes come into effect Sun 8th August at 4am,” UK Transport Secretary tweeted.
“While it’s right we continue our cautious approach, its great news to open more destinations for people wanting to connect with families, friends and businesses across the globe, all thanks to our successful domestic vaccination programme,” he said.
The decision has come as a relief for the Indian diaspora in the UK, who had been demanding the easing of travel norms between India and Britain.
Under the legal rules for countries on the amber list, passengers must take a COVID test three days before departure and book in advance for two COVID tests to be taken upon arrival in England as well as complete a passenger locator form on arrival.
On arriving in England, it was mandatory for passengers to quarantine at home or in the place they have confirmed as their location for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.
Under-18 and those fully vaccinated in the UK are exempt from the home quarantine, as well as those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the EU and US.
Those who are fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas; under 18 on the day they arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK and part of a UK-approved vaccine trial have also been exempted from the rules.
Covishield, the India-manufactured Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, is likely to be covered under this exemption. The update of the travel list came alongside an announcement that the cost for solo travellers from destinations still on the red list staying at a quarantine hotel will go up from August 12, from GBP 1,750 to GBP 2,285.
The charge for an additional adult sharing a room will increase from GBP 650 to GBP 1,430.
According to the government, this is to “better reflect the increased costs involved”.
Meanwhile, seven countries are moving to the green list – Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway and France have been moved off the amber watchlist.
For countries on the green list, people will not have to quarantine when returning from these nations, regardless of their vaccination status, although they will have to take a pre-departure test and another one two days after arrival.
Four countries will be put on the red list: Mexico, Georgia, La Reunion and Mayotte. The green watchlist, which gives travellers notice of countries whose green status is at risk of changing, remains in place and is unchanged with 16 countries on the list.
(With inputs from agencies)