Covid: England scraps Amber travel list and PCR tests no longer required in rule shake-up

THE UK Government has simplified its traffic light rules, scrapping the amber list and testing for travellers in England

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes, which marks a big shake-up of international travel rules south of the border, will be implemented from October 4. 

The changes apply only to England, but devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could later follow suit.

In a series of tweets, Mr Shapps said testing was being “made easier” from October 4, while current requirements for post-arrival PCR tests in England would be replaced by lateral flow tests later in October.

Meanwhile, the traffic light system of countries on green, amber and red lists is being replaced with a single red list, simplifying rules on travel for non-red list countries.

Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives, are being removed from the red list from 4am on Wednesday September 22.

He said: “TRAVEL UPDATE: we’re making testing easier for travel From Mon 4 Oct, if you’re fully vax you won’t need a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country and from later in Oct, will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.

“In addition, EIGHT countries and territories will come off the red list from Weds 22 Sept at 4am, incl. TURKEY, PAKISTAN and MALDIVES.

“We’ll also be introducing a new simplified system for international travel from Mon 4 Oct , replacing the current approach with a single red list and simplified measures for the rest of the world – striking the right balance to manage the public health risk as No.1 priority.”


Responding to the changes to travel measures in England, Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said they were a “significant and welcome step towards recovery” and a boost for travellers seeking to get away this winter.

He said: “Fully vaccinated passengers now have a larger choice of destinations and can book with more confidence in the months before Christmas and beyond – free from the need to arrange pre-departure tests before coming back into the UK.

“We know there is significant pent-up demand for travel, and our staff, restaurants, cafes and bars are ready to welcome back passengers over the coming months.

“We also welcome the news that day 2 PCR tests will be replaced with the quicker and more affordable lateral flow tests, which will allow us to start catching up with our competitors in Europe and the US – where passenger numbers are already approaching pre-pandemic levels.

“However, we also hope that the remaining constraints, including the passenger locator form, can be removed soon and we continue to call for the slot rules to be reinstated to incentivise airlines, increase competition and provide passengers with greater choice and flexibility.

“Gatwick is doing everything it can to make travel as easy as possible and only yesterday announced that it is further subsidising cut-price lateral flow tests for holiday-makers.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992