Covid-19: UK moves India to amber list; travellers no longer need to quarantine at hotels

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August 05, 2021 1:12 PM

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet that India, along with the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar will be moved to the amber list from the red list from 4 am on Sunday, August 8.

Apart from the flights run by Air India, the American airline companies United and Delta are also running a limited number of flights between the two countries.The decision has brought relief to the UK’s Indian diaspora that had been demanding the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries

The UK has moved India from its “red” watchlist to “amber”, which would allow fully vaccinated travellers from the country to bypass the compulsory 10-day hotel quarantine when they enter the country. Under the UK traffic light system for international travellers, returning from countries in the amber list will entail a 10-day home quarantine.

The UK’s Department for Transport announced the change, which will take effect from August 8. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet that India, along with the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar will be moved to the amber list from the red list from 4 am on Sunday, August 8.

Shapps said while the country continues to adopt a cautious approach, the development would be great news for people who want to connect with friends, families, and businesses. He also credited the country’s successful vaccination programme for the change.

The decision has brought relief to the UK’s Indian diaspora that had been demanding the easing of travel restrictions between the two countries.

As part of legal rules, passengers from amber-list countries must take a Covid-19 test three days before leaving and also book two tests that will be taken once they arrive in the UK. They will also have to complete a passenger locator form upon arrival. Once they arrive, the travellers will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine period at home or at the place confirmed as their location. They will also have to take a Covid-19 test on or before the second day and another on or after the eighth day.

Travellers under 18 years of age and those fully vaccinated in the UK will be exempt from the home-quarantine rule. Travellers who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the US or the European Union will also be exempt.

Covishield, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, is also likely to be covered by this exemption.

The UK will also raise the cost of hotel quarantine facilities for solo travellers from red-list countries to GBP 2,285 from GBP 1,750 from August 12. The cost has also gone up to GBP 1,430 from GBP 650 for an additional adult sharing a room. The government said this would better reflect the increased costs involved.

As part of the revisions, the UK has also moved to the green list Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Latvia, and Norway, while France has also been removed from the amber watchlist.

According to the UK’s traffic light system, travellers from green-list countries will not need to quarantine upon their arrival, no matter what the status of their vaccination is. However, they will have to take a Covid-19 test before departure and another two days after arrival.

Following the revision, only four countries — Georgian, Mexico, Mayotte, and La Reunion — will remain in the red list.

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