The Government should urgently review its travel policy towards Colombia based on the latest scientific data available. It should also provide a full explanation of the risk assessment carried out for each country.
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According to the World Health Organization, on September 20, Colombia had 1,655 confirmed cases and 34 deaths. It has also administered 38 million vaccines where 38 million people (76% of the total population) are older than 14 years old.
Colombia should be taken off the red list with immediate effect.
Tuesday 2nd November 2021
Colombia was removed from the red list on Monday 1 November 2021.
Travel restrictions were introduced for arrivals from Colombia from 15 January 2021, meaning that visitors who have visited or transited through Colombia in the last 10 days were prohibited from entry to the UK. The decision to impose such measures at the time was taken to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus into the UK, which was first identified in Brazil and subsequently named the Beta variant.
These measures did allow British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, to enter the UK but they were required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival along with their household.
From 15 February 2021, international arrivals to England are required to quarantine in a government-managed hotel if, within the previous 10 days before arrival, they had been in or transited a country to which the prohibition of travel applied to. This includes arrivals from Colombia. On 17 September 2021, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that we will be easing the transit rules for those who change flights or international trains as part of their journeys to England, to ensure that such passengers will only be required to follow the measures associated to any red list countries or territories they have visited in the previous ten days before arriving in England, and not the status of any intermediate destinations where they have securely transited.
On 17 May 2021, the UK Government introduced a traffic light system to provide a risk-based framework for the safe and sustainable return to international travel. The traffic light system categorised countries and territories based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. UKHSA produces risk assessments of countries and territories. Decisions on red, amber or green list assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the UKHSA risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors.
Key factors in the UKHSA risk assessment of each country include:
o Genomic surveillance capability
o COVID-19 transmission risk
o Variant of Concern transmission risk
A summary of the UKHSA methodology is published on gov.uk, alongside key data that supports Ministers' decisions. The summary of the UKHSA methodology is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system and the data is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/data-informing-international-travel-risk-assessments.
The traffic light system was replaced by a single red list of countries and territories and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world on 4 October 2021. Decisions on allocations of countries and territories to the red list and associated border measures continue to be taken by Ministers, who take into account the UKHSA risk assessments alongside wider public health factors.
Given the success of the vaccination programme in the UK and the latest evidence of variants across the world, including the fact that the Delta variant is now dominant in many countries as it is in the UK, from 11 October 2021, 47 countries and territories were removed from the red list. On 1 November 2021, Colombia and all remaining countries and territories were removed from the red list.
As with all our coronavirus measures our priority remains to protect public health in the UK. The red list is reviewed every 3 weeks, and the Government will not hesitate to take action to protect public health where necessary. The current list of red list countries will be kept updated here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories.
Department for Transport