‘Utterly blessed’ loved ones to reunite for Christmas thanks to red list change

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A man who had been unable to fly home to spend Christmas Day with his disabled mother has said he plans to surprise her with a visit after Sajid Javid announced that all 11 countries will be removed from the travel red list.

Hotel quarantine for travellers arriving in England will be abandoned as per the Health Secretary’s announcement.

The Cabinet minister told the Commons that the 11 countries on the red list will be removed at 4am on Wednesday.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid leaving Downing Street, London, after the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting. Picture date: Tuesday December 14, 2021
(James Manning/PA)

His 77-year-old mother, who suffers from severe osteoarthritis, had faced spending Christmas Day alone since the death of her husband last year.

“It’s good news that the restrictions are lifted,” Mr Doney told the PA news agency.

“They were ridiculous seeing as Europe had far higher infection rates than here.

“My flight is booked but I’m not going to tell mum. I’m going to turn up and give her a surprise.”

Undated handout photo of Colin Doney, a teacher from Northampton
Colin Doney, 52, will be able to visit his mother for Christmas (Colin Doney/PA)

Bruce Gerber, 45, and his partner, Kim Hawridge, 47, were forced to cancel their Christmas plans at the last minute as a result of the “ridiculous” costs of the 10-day quarantine rule.

Mr Gerber told PA: “It’s fantastic news, it means she can fly on Saturday.

“I am a little in shock I must say.

“I feel utterly blessed to have my best friend and partner with me over this special time of the year.”

Mr Javid said the spread of Omicron in the UK and the world means the travel red list is “now less effective in slowing the incursion of Omicron from abroad”.

He told MPs: “Whilst we’ll maintain our temporary testing measures for international travel, we will be removing all 11 countries from the travel red list effective from 4am tomorrow.”

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