business

Oct. 10, 2021

OWN CORRESPONDENT

3 min read

Lesotho travellers free to enter UK

Lesotho travellers free to enter UK

Passengers arriving into the Heathrow International Airport in London

Story highlights

  • UK removes 47 countries from its red list for travel
  • Bookings to SA increase by 150% over past 4 days

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TRAVELLERS from Lesotho can now freely enter the United Kingdom (UK) after the latter removed the former from its red list for travel.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the UK’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said the change will officially take effect from Monday, October 11.

“I’m also making changes so travellers visiting England have fewer entry requirements, by recognising those with fully-vax status from 37 new countries and territories including India, Turkey and Ghana, treating them the same as UK fully vaxxed passengers,” he said.

The European country has also cut 46 other destinations from its red list for travel – including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe and Zambia in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

“The measures announced today mark the next step as we continue to open up travel and provide stability for passengers and industry while remaining on track to keep travel open for good,” Mr Shapps said.

The removal of Lesotho from the red list means that travellers will no longer be forced to quarantine on arrival in England, which comes at a cost of around £2,295 (M46 658).

It is also expected to significantly boost the tourism industry in Lesotho and the rest of the region which has been devastated over the past 18 months by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virgin Atlantic told the Evening Standard it has already seen a surge in bookings, with particular interest in flights over Christmas period.

“In advance of the red list review today, we have seen our bookings to South Africa increase by 150% over the past four days, compared to the four days prior,” a spokeswoman said.

“The majority of bookings are for passengers originating from the UK however we are also seeing an increase in passengers originating from South Africa as well. The new bookings are for travel in November and December this year in particular around the Christmas period.”

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As of October 11, arrivals from Lesotho and the 46 other countries will no longer have to enter hotel quarantine. They will just have to do a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, a method widely used to rapidly make millions to billions of copies of a specific DNA sample, allowing scientists to take a very small sample of DNA and amplify it to a large enough amount to study in detail, on or before day two.

In a major overhaul, only seven countries remain on the red quarantine list, including Peru and the Dominican Republic.

Travel restrictions are updated every three weeks by the UK government, meaning the next update is expected on or around October 28. Euro News Travel/Evening Standard

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