Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Brits would no longer be advised against visiting countries like the Bahamas, Jamaica and Thailand from Monday – making it easier for holidaymakers to get travel insurance
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Trips to another 51 countries and territories will become easier after the Foreign Office axed advice against non-essential travel.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the decision, which comes into effect on Monday, allows people to “exercise personal responsibility” as they plan visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Countries effectively opening up to British passengers include the Bahamas, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Martinique, Palau, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara.
Advice for a further 42 locations, including Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Indonesia, Mexico, the Seychelles, South Africa and Thailand, will also be eased.
The move will make it easier for Britons to obtain travel insurance to visit the destinations.
Most policies are invalid if the Government has advised against all but essential travel to a country.
It follows the removal of travel advisories to 32 countries earlier this week and is part of a new policy to stop advising Britons to avoid all but essential travel to non-red list countries on Covid-19 grounds except in “exceptional circumstances”, such as if local health systems are overwhelmed.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “These updates make travel abroad easier – boosting trade, tourism and reuniting friends and families.
“I am delighted that the safe reopening of travel allows people to exercise personal responsibility and visit more destinations across the globe.”
In a further boost to the beleaguered travel and aviation industries, which have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, an overhaul to rules around coronavirus tests travellers have to take when returning to the UK from abroad will be in place by the end of the month.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the deadline, which was announced when a previous overhaul of the travel regime aa unveiled, and said he wanted cheaper lateral flow devices to replace expensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests by half-term.
The Cabinet Minister claimed travellers returning to the UK could be “done and dusted” with organising testing before they even get home, with lateral flow tests available at airports.
He vowed the switch from PCR testing to lateral flows would be ready for families to have a foreign holiday this month.
Asked if he was referring to English schools’ half-term breaks, he told Times Radio: “Yes, that’s right, October 22.
“That’s the goal, and, as I say, the testing companies are gearing up to do that.
“I’ve spoken to the airports including Heathrow and they even have tests available as you walk through the airport, so you could be done and dusted before you even get home with these things, which will be a massive improvement to having to send off PCR tests to labs and waiting for the results and all the costs involved.”
It is understood the lateral flow tests would not be free but would be a far cheaper alternative to PCR tests, where costs have sometimes reached hundreds of pounds.
A family of four faced having to fork out about £200 for PCR tests.