A total of 47 countries including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand will be removed from Scotland’s red list on Monday, the Scottish Government has announced.
Travellers arriving from those destinations will no longer need to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2285 for solo travellers.
Just seven countries – Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela – will remain on the red list following the changes, which were agreed on a four-nations basis.
Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey said: “This change to travel restrictions recognises the success of the Scottish Government’s vaccination programme.“It’s important we continue to exercise caution which is why a red list of countries will be retained, carefully monitored and updated following a review at regular intervals.
“If evidence and circumstances change, we will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions to protect public health in Scotland.“But the steps we are seeing now pave the way for growth in the travel and tourism sector who we have listened very carefully to and engaged with widely on throughout this difficult period.”
The Scottish Government also said it would recognise vaccines for arrivals from a further 37 countries and territories including Brazil, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey.
The decision means fully vaccinated people entering Scotland from these locations will be exempt from quarantine, the pre-departure test and the day-eight post-arrival test.
UK health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Our robust border measures have helped protect the phenomenal progress of our vaccination programme, and it is because of this success both here and around the world that we can safely open up travel further and we can visit friends and family abroad.
“We’re now making it easier and cheaper for people to travel by allowing fully vaccinated travellers from non-red list countries to use lateral flow tests on day two of arrival, as long as they provide proof of use.”
No date has been set on when eligible fully-vaccinated arrivals will be able to use a lateral flow test for their day-two test, rather than the more expensive PCR version.
The UK Government said its “ambition” is for this to be in place “for people returning from half-term breaks by the end of the month”.
British Airways announced it will resume services and increase frequencies to a number of winter sun destinations being removed from the red list, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; Mexico City and Cancun, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The airline’s chief executive Sean Doyle said: “It finally feels like we are seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“Britain will benefit from this significant reduction in red list countries and now it’s time to turn our attention to eradicating testing for fully-vaccinated travellers to ensure we don’t lose our place on the global stage.”