The UK will soon allow quarantine-free travel for almost all countries, including South Africa, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph.
The current measures imposed by the British government permit entry to only British and Irish Nationals arriving from high-risk countries – commonly referred to as red list countries – who are required to quarantine in government-managed hotels.
However, Reuters reports that British prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to allow fully vaccinated arrivals from countries including South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia for hotel quarantine-free travel later this week, citing The Sunday Telegraph.
The Sunday paper reported that the UK’s red list of destinations would be cut to nine from 54, with the announcement expected to be made on Thursday (7 October).
The UK’s hotel quarantine policy for higher risk countries costs £2,285 per adult (R46,000), putting a huge financial burden on potential travellers to the country.
Reuters reported that the country is already planning to relax its travel rules from 4 October by scrapping its amber list for medium risk destinations and no longer requiring fully vaccinated passengers to take a Covid-19 test before they arrive in the country from places not on the red list.
“The government has said that from later in October, arrivals in England will no longer have to take a PCR test two days after arrival and can instead opt for the cheaper lateral flow test.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an address to the country earlier this week that he had spoken with Johnson to discuss the UK’s red listing of South Africa.
“This has put us in a disadvantaged position since the United Kingdom is South Africa’s biggest source of tourism from the northern hemisphere and a significant trading partner.
“While UK scientists were concerned about the presence of the Beta variant in South Africa, the reality is that the Delta variant is now by far the dominant variant in the country,” the president said.
Ramaphosa said that he put South Africa’s case to the UK prime minister, “which he understood very well”.
“We both agreed that decisions of this nature should be informed by science and are hopeful of a positive outcome when the issue comes up for review in the coming days,” the president said.