In an article published by the BBC, the British government has stated that the number of countries on the UK COVID travel red list will be cut from 54 to seven. Read on and find out more about how Cuba no longer appears!
Pack your bags, it is all clear for Cuba this Autumn!
The British government has released a statement detailing the number of countries on the UK COVID travel red list will be cut from 54 to just seven. Happily, Cuba is included in one of the countries that has been removed from the list, meaning that travellers no longer have to quarantine in an approved hotel at their cost for 10 full days.
This is following the prior news regarding the amber list being cut, and will no doubt come as welcome news to the airline industries, hotels and resorts, and holidaymakers alike.
The next step in opening travel
Announcing the latest changes, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government was "making it easier for families and loved ones to reunite".
"With fewer restrictions and more people travelling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery." - Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary
In addition to the shorter red list, the government has even said that passengers would soon be able to use a photograph of a lateral flow test as a minimum requirement to verify a negative result.
Returning to the UK from abroad
Obviously, getting to Cuba for some Autumn sunshine is one thing, but many travellers will be wondering how the rules stand upon returning to the UK too.
A UK government source said the government still aimed to replace the so-called day two "PCR test on arrival" with a cheaper lateral flow test by the half-term break (25th - 29th October), for many schools in England.
But they also established that the government was still working on a date for when the new testing rule would be introduced.
Under current rules, travellers must use more expensive PCR tests for their post-arrival day two screening. People who are not fully vaccinated must provide a further PCR test on day eight.
How have the airlines reacted to the government's statement?
Airlines and the travel industry praised a "much-improved system" but called on ministers to implement changes to testing as soon as possible and consider scrapping tests for passengers arriving from low-risk countries.
A spokesperson for London's Heathrow Airport said the announced changes would "kick start a global Britain".
"The missing piece to this is clarity on when cheaper lateral flow tests will be accepted, which is now critical in order to save the half-term getaway for many." - London Heathrow Airport spokesperson
British airline Virgin Atlantic and the Spanish Iberostar Group's World2Fly have already announced that passengers will be able to fly to the Caribbean island of Cuba more regularly in the coming weeks.
"Our aeroplanes will depart from London to Havana in addition to other routes in the Caribbean. There will be two flights to Cuba each week, with expectations to increase to three flights if conditions continue to improve." - Juha Jarvinen, CEO Virgin Atlantic
World2Fly's first flight from Madrid to Havana departed on 22nd September 2021, and now operates two flights per week on Wednesdays and Fridays.
As this route is expected to grow in popularity, World2Fly is also hoping to increase the number of flights they operate, branching out to include other resort destinations in Cuba, like Varadero.
All eyes on an Autumn or Winter getaway to Cuba
This news from the UK government also coincides with the Cuban Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) preparing to gradually open the country's borders from 15th November for the tourists coming from North America and Europe.
Protocols have been put in place for a safe reopening and Cuba could well be this Autumn's best destination for a luxury getaway.
"The hygiene and sanitary protocols will be made more flexible when travellers arrive in Cuba, with the focus being on monitoring symptomatic patients and taking temperatures. In addition, diagnostic tests will be carried out at random, but PCRs will not be required upon arrival, and the travellers' own national vaccination certificate will be officially recognised by Cuba." - Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Cuba
How's the list looking now?
The following 47 destinations will be removed from the UK's COVID travel red list from 04:00 BST on Monday 10th October:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Paraguay, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The seven countries remaining on the red list are: Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.