Thailand and Montenegro added to the red list

Thailand and Montenegro added to the red list
Changes come into effect at 4am on 30 August

Thailand and Montenegro have been downgraded from amber to red in the latest reshuffle of the UK’s traffic light lists for international travel.

The UK government announced the changes during the latest tri-weekly review, which took place on 26 August.

The changes will come into effect in at 4am on 30 August.

In a statement, the Department for Transport (DfT) said that the changes reflected “the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health”.

“The high rates combined with lower levels of published genomic surveillance in Thailand and Montenegro than other countries mean that an outbreak of a new variant or existing variants of concern (VOC) or variants under investigation (VUI) cannot be easily identified before it is imported and seeded across the UK,” said the statement.

Those entering the UK from these destinations will be subject to 11 nights of government-mandated hotel quarantine. This quarantine previously cost £1,750 per solo traveller, but this increased to £2,285 on 12 August.

Red list countries and regions all “present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19”, according to the criteria set by Department for Transport (DfT).

Transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “We’ve updated our travel lists further cautiously easing international travel. You can view the full list on GOV.UK, with changes coming into force from Monday 30 August at 4am.”

In addition, seven countries were added to the green list.

Arrivals from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Azores will be able to avoid quarantine, whatever their vaccine status.

No countries were downgraded from the green list to the amber list, making the grand total of green destinations to 43.

There had been hopes that the Maldives and Pakistan would be moved from the red list in this late August review, but they stayed put.

Within minutes, Shapps’ announcement attracted criticism from travel industry figures.

Sean Doyle, chairman and chief executive of British Airways, said: “Despite our world-leading vaccination programme, the UK’s economic recovery remains far behind our more pragmatic European neighbours, which are already reaping the rewards of a rapid recovery.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “Another three-week review ending in disappointment with Turkey being left off the list and kept on red.

“The traffic light review system is destroying public confidence and making it impossible for the travel industry to trade its way through to recovery, let alone the British public to make plans to travel, do business or be reunited with loved ones.”