LONDON: Britain will scrap tough Covid-19 quarantine requirements for 47 destinations including South Africa and Thailand on Monday and make it easier for people to arrive from countries including India and Turkey in the latest relaxation of the rules.
Britain's tourism industry has essentially lost two full summers after travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 deterred many people from going abroad.
Many countries with high infection levels were put on a red list, requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in a government provided quarantine hotel, while the need for a PCR test and other tests often cost more than the flight itself.
Airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have said that the approach and the frequently changing restrictions have delayed any recovery in the sector, leaving the British industry lagging its European peers.
On Thursday, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said he would remove 47 destinations from the red list. The destinations included Thailand. Seven countries will remain, including Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela.
"Thailand will no longer be on the red list for entering England. Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland," the Transport Ministry said on the website.
He has also eased the rules for countries such as India, Turkey and Ghana, meaning that the inoculation status of arrivals will be recognised and fully vaccinated arrivals will only need to take a test on day 2 to check for Covid.
The move came after Britain dropped its advice against all but essential travel for 32 countries. But it was still advising against all but essential travel for scores of countries and territories on its red list which include Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand.
In a further change, passengers will be able to send a picture of their lateral flow test result to verify test accuracy once the requirement switches from the more expensive PCR test to lateral flow later this month.
Shapps said restoring people's confidence in travel was key to rebuilding the economy. "With less restrictions and more people traveling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery."