Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps has confirmed that all seven countries remaining on England’s ‘red list’ will be removed next week.

The countries, which include Colombia, Peru, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela and Ecuador, will no longer appear on the list from November 1 at 0400.

This means that visitors arriving from these countries will not have to undergo a ten-day quarantine in a hotel at their own cost.

The government will retain the red list category as a precautionary measure, and will add countries and territories to it “if needed, as the UK’s first line of defence”. It will be reviewed every 3 weeks and the government “will impose restrictions should there be a need to do so to protect public health”.

Shapps also confirmed that proof of vaccination will be recognised from over 30 new countries and territories, including Peru and Uganda. This brings the total number of countries on the list to over 135.

Shapps said:

“This is another step in the right direction for international travel with more good news today for passengers, businesses and the travel sector. We’re continuing to make great progress as we recover from the pandemic and today is another example of how far we have come.

“Whether it’s reuniting family members or making it easier for businesses to trade, the success of the vaccine rollout both at home and abroad has allowed us to reach this milestone. However, we must not be complacent and remain ready to spring into action and defend our hard-won gains if needed.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid added:

“I am glad we are able to reduce the travel list even further, giving a huge boost to businesses, families and friends wanting to travel.

“The red list and quarantine remain vital in protecting our borders – we are keeping a small number of quarantine rooms on standby and will not hesitate to take swift action by adding countries to the red list if the risk increases again.”

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, commented on the news:

“The removal of all countries from the red list is appreciated. However, the lurking threat of further introductions to this list and the continued existence of quarantine hotels means that it does not give travellers the confidence that they need.

“Business travellers especially, need to understand the criteria the Government is using to make these decisions. Businesses and livelihoods depend on a more open and collaborative approach from the Government.”

The traffic list was scrapped earlier this month, while testing rules were also simplified, with travellers returning to England now only needing lateral flow tests instead of more expensive PCR tests.

Grant Shapps confirms October 24 date for switch to lateral flow tests for travel