Foreign Office relaxes advice for 30+ countries

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has lifted its advice against all but essential travel for more than 30 countries and territories.

It said the change means people will be able to travel to a larger number of destinations “with greater ease”.

Its statement said: “The update comes as part of a simplified system for international travel which has seen the replacement of the traffic light system with a single red list, and reduced testing requirements for eligible fully vaccinated travellers.”

A host of countries are expected to be removed from the red list later this week following the abolition of the much-criticised government traffic light system.

“The FCDO will no longer advise against travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds, except in exceptional circumstances such as if the local healthcare system is overwhelmed,” said the FCDO statement.

“Many travel insurance companies use FCDO travel advice as a reference point in their policies – typically excluding cover for places where government advises against essential travel, however people will now be able to purchase travel insurance for a wider range of destinations across the globe.

“Advice has been lifted in light of the improved public health in many countries and territories, better understanding of the virus and the decreased risk to British nationals as a result of the vaccine rollout.”

The FCDO said it will continue to advise against all but essential travel for all red list countries and territories where the risk to British travellers is “unacceptably high”.

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Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “These rule tweaks will make travelling more straightforward, supporting businesses and families right across Britain – and allow more of us to see friends and loved ones with greater peace of mind.

“We’re striking the right balance between keeping people safe which remains our priority and giving them the freedom to exercise personal responsibility, while supporting the travel sector as it continues to recover.”

A global advisory against all but essential travel to every country and territory was introduced at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

This was lifted in November 2020 and the FCDO has been assessing Covid-19 risks country by country.

Before today’s changes, it advised against travel on Covid-19 grounds to 117 countries and territories.

The FCDO will lift its advisory against all but essential travel to Algeria; Armenia; Bangladesh; Belarus; Benin; Comoros; Tokelau & Niue; Djibouti; Equatorial Guinea; Fiji; Gambia; Guinea; Kazakhstan; Kiribati; Kosovo; Liberia; Madagascar; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Nauru; São Tomé and Príncipe; Senegal; Solomon Islands; Togo; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Congo; America Samoa; French Polynesia; and Ghana.

The FCDO will remove advisories for more countries and territories in the coming days.

An Abta spokesperson welcomed the news, saying: “Given the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, we have been calling for the Foreign Office to replace the general use of FCDO advice against travel due to Covid risks with clear, country-specific advice so travellers can make an informed choice based on their own circumstances. It is good to see them respond to these calls today and we would welcome further countries’ restrictions being lifted.

“This news follows the introduction of a simplified system for international travel and reduced testing requirements for fully vaccinated holidaymakers this week, so we hope this marks a continuation of international travel becoming easier and more affordable so the sector can begin its journey to recovery.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, tweeted: “Good news to see @FCDOtravelGovUK have lifted their non essential travel advisory to over 30+ countries. This is where countries not on red list still had an advisory against travel. International travel is getting easier but remains complex. Book with a travel agent expert.”

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