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Transport Committee Chair comments on the travel update from the Department for Transport

8 October 2021

Following a travel update from the Department for Transport, the Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP has commented:

“This announcement removes further barriers to international travel and should be welcomed by all who want to travel, or trade, across the globe.

The dramatic culling of the red list will provide a huge boost to many developing countries who have struggled without UK tourists. In parts of Africa, this has not only had a big impact on people but on wildlife and conservation. Many travel agents, who specialise in former red-list countries, have waited a long time for this announcement. 

The Government had already announced that PCR testing will no longer be needed for those fully vaccinated. The Committee has been calling for this move. We are still no clearer as to when this will come into effect - we only know it will be ‘later this month’. Passengers and the travel industry need urgent clarity or it will be too late for those who need financial certainty to book the October half-term holiday.

The news on changes to PCR testing is welcome and is a positive step to making travel affordable. It appears that the Government will not follow the path of replacing one expensive PCR test with a burdensome lateral flow process but questions need answering around the need for photographic evidence. This is not needed for any domestic testing and will raise issues around practicalities, compliance and enforcement. I look forward to the day when proof of vaccination can replace testing all together.

These changes do not put us at risk. We have high vaccination rates which provide strong protection against all known COVID variants. I hope that these changes will encourage even more people, particularly young people, to get vaccinated in order to travel without barriers.”

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