Pre-Covid holidaymakers on Turkey's southern coast (photo courtesy Nihat Sinan Erul/Unsplash).
As of this morning, the United Kingdom government has added the Maldives, Turkey and Nepal to its red list of countries, due to surging Covid-19 cases in these areas.
This means that direct flights from these places are banned and any Britons returning to England must travel via a third country. Non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the last ten days will be denied entry.
All Britons returning to England from red list countries must also undergo ten days of mandatory quarantine in a government designated hotel at their own expense. Any passengers trying to conceal their arrival from a red list country face jail terms of up to ten years and fines of up to GBP10,000.
The UK government has split all countries into three lists - green, amber and red - based on the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, its infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern and its capacity to sequence its genomes. Travel hubs such as United Arab Emirates have also been identified as high risk due to the number of passengers from all over the world transiting through these areas. There is also a green 'watch list' to identify countries most at risk of moving from green to amber.
The government hopes to reduce the introduction and transmission of new Covid variants with these tighter travel controls. Hotel quarantine has proved a successful way of managing the pandemic in countries across Asia Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong.
All arrivals into England, regardless of where they have travelled from, must take a test 72 hours before departure, another on day two after arrival and a third test on day eight. The government is weighing in with hefty penalties for non-compliance, including a GBP1,000 fine for not taking the departure or day two test and a further GBP2,000 fine for arrivals who do not take the mandatory test on day eight.
Travellers from amber countries must isolate for ten days, with the option of leaving quarantine early by using a test-to-release programme on day five. However, the day eight test must still be taken, regardless as to whether travellers are able to end their quarantine on day five. Failure to comply with testing requirements will also result in an automatic extension of the time in quarantine to 14 days.
Tests for days two and eight must be purchased before travel and travellers must also complete a passenger locator form. All documents must be submitted for checking at the port of entry on arrival in England. Red list arrivals must book and pay in advance for hotel quarantine.
The full red list now includes 43 countries. They are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Seychelles, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, South Africa, Kenya, DR Congo, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Panama, Cape Verde, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
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