Travel red list cut to seven countries

7 Oct 2021 by Tom Otley
Johannesburg -skyline

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced that the red list of countries is to be cut from 52 to 7.

The UK Government website says that from October 11 (0400), the red list will reduce to 7 countries and proof of vaccination will be recognised from 37 new countries and territories.

The details are:

  • red list reduced to 7 destinations (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) with 47 countries and territories removed from 0400  Monday October 11, 2021
  • the government extends inbound vaccinated arrivals system to a further 37 countries and territories across the globe including India, South Africa and Turkey, meaning eligible vaccinated passengers arriving from rest of world countries only need to take a day 2 test in England
  • the government confirms passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify test result accuracy and keep prices down once Day 2 tests switch to lateral flow later this month, followed by a free PCR if positive

The news has had an immediate response from airlines.

British Airways said it will increase its services to South Africa, with daily services to Johannesburg expected by mid-December and restarting services to Cape Town, offering three flights a week in November, before moving to a double daily service in December. The airline’s services to Mexico City will also be increasing to five services a week from November 6, and Cancun flights will resume from October 22 and operate daily.

British Airways says that its services to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires will return in time for Christmas.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel. Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries, and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.

“Once we have a firm date for the reopening of US borders in November, we look forward to reconnecting our two countries, reigniting transatlantic businesses and reuniting families who have been separated for the best part of two years. We are ready, and we look forward to operating our first flights and welcoming back our customers.”

Panoramic View of Sunset at the Hotel District, Cancun Mexico

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said; “The considerable reduction in the Red List and recognition of many more countries’ vaccination status is another positive step towards the UK’s recovery from the pandemic and a boost to international travel.  We are ready to welcome fully vaccinated arrivals from India, South Africa, and Hong Kong to the UK. However, to ensure the full economic benefits are realised and that Britain’s global ambitions are met, all testing for fully vaccinated travellers from low risk destinations must be removed, bringing us into line with Europe and the US.”

“We look forward to receiving the date for the reopening of the US border for fully vaccinated international visitors as soon as possible, allowing the UK to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.”

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, said: “The BTA welcomes the scything changes to the UK’s red list. This is a fantastic boost for business and leisure travel. The Government must now bring us into step with other countries by dropping Day 2 testing requirements and leading the way on international protocols for entry. It is only when there is international reciprocity that we can look forward to international business travel catching up with domestic travel levels.”

Julia Simpson, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), said: “There is no justification for a red list to remain in the UK. Other countries have realised that blanket country measures are no longer needed and instead assess on individual risk and whether travellers have been fully jabbed.”

“While this is great news for countries such as South Africa which have been severely impacted by their red list status, welcoming all fully-vaccinated travellers, regardless of country of origin is key to restarting safe international travel.”

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at

Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Business Traveller September / October 2021 cover
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below