UK simplifies complex COVID-19 travel rules
Gulf Today|September 18, 2021
Eight countries will be removed from the red list; Pakistan welcomes UK moves; UAE sees 521 new virus cases, 2 deaths; India breaks vaccination record in ‘birthday gift’ to Modi; vaccinated Aussies promised more freedom.

London

The British government announced a major simplification of its rules for international travel on Friday, heeding complaints from travellers and businesses that its regulations aimed at staving off the spread of COVID-19 were cumbersome and ineffective.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the “simpler, more straightforward system” would allow “more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.”

He said the changes were possible because of Britain’s high vaccination rate. Almost 82% of people 16 and up in the UK are fully vaccinated.

Shapps said the UK is scrapping its “traffic light” system that ranks countries as red, amber or green - high, medium or low risk from the coronavirus. The categories have been criticized as unfair, and sudden changes to countries’ status have caused headaches for thousands of travellers.

From Oct. 4, there will be a two-tier system, with several dozen countries where COVID-19 is widespread classed as red, and the remainder as open. Eight countries will be removed from the red list on Wednesday: Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya.

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