The government’s long-awaited travel update has arrived and it will overhaul the UK’s confusing traffic light system.

Transport secretary, Grant Schapps announced this afternoon one of the biggest shake ups in international travel restrictions.

The new framework will merge the green and and amber lists will come into force Wednesay September 22 at 4am.

Eight countries, including Turkey, Pakistan and Maldives, have been removed from the red list.

Bournemouth Echo: The government is rumoured to be scrapping the confusing traffic light system. Credit: Davis Sanchez via PexelsThe government is rumoured to be scrapping the confusing traffic light system. Credit: Davis Sanchez via Pexels

Every three weeks, the government meets to sign off any changes in the UK's traffic light travel system but it was delayed this week following Boris Johnson's cabinet reshuffle.

Only a handful of countries moved on to the green list during the government’s last travel update on August 26, including Canada, Denmark, Liechtenstein along with four others.

Under the new rules, those who have had both Covid 19 vaccinations will escape quarantine, pre-departure lateral flow tests and PCR testing on arrival.

This means that unvaccinated passengers will still need to follow these restrictions with even those from low-risk countries will have to quarantine at home and will be able to replace will be able to replace the day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.

Instead of the current traffic light system, there will be just two lists- where you can go and where you cannot.

Bournemouth Echo: Turkey is rumoured to being removed from the red travel list. Credit Sinasi Muldur via PexelsTurkey is rumoured to being removed from the red travel list. Credit Sinasi Muldur via Pexels

Holiday hotspot Turkey is moving off the list of no-go destinations which will delight holidaymakers.

In his annoucement on Twitter, Transport Secretary Grant Schapps 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.

The Welwyn Hatfield MP confirmed that eight countries and territories including:

• Turkey

• Pakistan

• The Maldives

• Egypt

• Sri Lanka

• Oman

• Bangladesh

• Kenya

Before the changes come into force on the September 22, 62 countries and territories remain on the red list compared to 43 on the green.

The expected changes are expected to boost the airline industry and be welcomed by travellers.

Holidaymakers will still need to pay £30 each for supervised lateral flow tests because they will not be able to use free lateral flows from the NHS. 

Speaking to the Argus, AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said: “The UK’s traffic light system has come in for considerable criticism from both industry bosses and consumers so it’s little wonder the speculation that it’s about to be scrapped has chimed with investors.

“October half-term is the next big opportunity for the travel sector and any changes that can make travelling less unsettling and testing less expensive will yield dividends.”

What countries are on the green list?

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • The Azores
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel and Jerusalem
  • Kenya
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Maldives
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Romania
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • Slovakia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Turkey

For further guidance on what the green list rules are, see the UK government website.

What countries will remain on the red list?

  • Afghanistan    
  • Angola       
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana        
  • Brazil  
  • Burundi            
  • Cape Verde     
  • Chile   
  • Colombia         
  • Congo (Democratic Republic)
  • Costa Rica        
  • Cuba   
  • Dominican Republic   
  • Ecuador            
  • Egypt  
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini           
  • Ethiopia           
  • French Guiana
  • Georgia            
  • Guyana             
  • Haiti    
  • Indonesia        
  • Lesotho            
  • Malawi      
  • Mayotte           
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia         
  • Montenegro   
  • Mozambique 
  • Myanmar         
  • Namibia           
  • Nepal     
  • Panama            
  • Paraguay          
  • Peru    
  • Philippines      
  • Réunion           
  • Rwanda            
  • Seychelles       
  • Sierra Leone   
  • Somalia            
  • South Africa           
  • Sudan 
  • Suriname         
  • Tanzania          
  • Trinidad and Tobago  
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda             
  • Uruguay           
  • Venezuela       
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

For more guidance on the rules for red list countries, see the UK government website.