Dubai and Turkey on UK’s travel red list

Dubai and Turkey on UK’s travel red list
Popular tourist spots come with a side of hotel quarantine

Dubai and Turkey are among the countries that will be on the UK’s “red list” once foreign holidays become legal in England from 17 May.

International leisure travel will open up from that date under a traffic light system, whereby destinations are categorised as green, amber or red, the government has confirmed.

In a press conference from Number 10 Downing Street, transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed the red list countries, which will incur the tightest restrictions for returning travellers.

The list of 43 locations included popular tourist spots such as the Maldives.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

Travellers returning from these destinations but must be prepared to spend 11 nights at a government-mandated quarantine hotel upon their return to the UK.

The package costs £1,750 for a single traveller, and includes a private transfer from the airport, all meals, and two PCR tests, to be taken on day two and day eight of self-isolation.

Dubai is extremely popular with British travellers, attracting 1.2 million visitors in 2019.

Most countries on the red list have been placed there due to a high level of coronavirus infections, a less advanced vaccination programme, and/or an established prevalence of virus variants of concern.

However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not been classed as red due to these factors, but as a result of its status as a major international air travel hub, funnelling thousands of passengers around the world via connecting flights.

The British government believes it would be too difficult to monitor where travellers flying from the UAE originated from, meaning they potentially have a higher risk of reintroducing Covid-19 infections to the UK.

Turkey, meanwhile, has seen a huge upsurge in infections; on 29 April, the PC Agency reported that the country had recorded 434.8 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the previous seven days. By comparison, the UK had recorded just 25.1.

Travellers hailing from amber list countries must be prepared to spend 10 days quarantining at home upon their return to the UK, plus pay to take two PCR tests on arrival: one on day two and one on day eight.

Green list arrivals are not required to self-isolate but must take one PCR test within two days of arriving back in the UK.

All travellers, no matter the origin country, must provide proof of a negative Covid test – be it PCR, antigen or lateral flow – before departing for British shores.