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Travel traffic light system scrapped – and changes to COVID tests for fully jabbed holidaymakers announced

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A major relaxing of travel rules for people coming in and out of England have been announced by the transport secretary.

From 4 October, the current traffic light system of red, amber and green countries will be scrapped and replaced with one red list only.

Travel traffic light system scrapped – follow live updates

Anywhere not on the red list is considered green and clear for travel – there will no longer be an amber list.

Also from that date, travellers will no longer need to take pre-departure tests for travelling into England from abroad.

Then, from the end of October, fully vaccinated passengers from non-red list countries will be able to replace day-two PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests.

Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a free confirmatory PCR test which would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.

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This means the new system, which is expected to stay in place at least until the New Year, should be in effect as people return from half-term breaks.

The government has also announced that from 4am on 22 September, eight destinations will be removed from the red list.

The destinations are:

• Turkey

• Pakistan

• The Maldives

• Egypt

• Sri Lanka

• Oman

• Bangladesh

• Kenya

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

“Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with over 44 million people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.”

Later speaking to reporters, Mr Shapps added: “We wanted to bring a new, simpler, easier to navigate and cheaper system as well and so we have bought this in until the New Year at the very least and the purpose is to make it easier for people to travel without the bureaucracy, without so many tests and with a greater level of certainty – now that we have got so many people vaccinated.”

The regular three-weekly update of which destinations are designated green, amber and red had been due on Thursday but it was delayed by the cabinet reshuffle.