TURKEY, the Maldives and Nepal have today been added to the Government’s “high risk” red alert holiday list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement at a press conference this evening while also revealing the 12-strong green travel list.
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Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal have been added to the Government’s ‘high risk’ red alert holiday listCredit: Louis Wood News Group Newspaper Ltd
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement today
Mr Shapps said: “Red list countries should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances, where repeated testing and isolation on return is compulsory.”
The three countries will be added to the red list on May 12 due to concerns about rapidly-spreading mutant strains of the virus.
The news could put the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea in doubt, which is meant to be held in Istanbul, Turkey.
Last month, the daily case rate hit pandemic-highs of 63,000, forcing Turkey into its first full lockdown.
The tourism sector is fearing another lost season, with hopes that the current lockdown will allow holiday bookings to return in time for the summer.
Istanbul-based Andiamo Tour’s Cem Polatoglu told local media: “The lockdown decision will probably not be able to save the season.”
Even if cases drop below 5,000 by the end of the month – yesterday the country reported 24,000 daily cases – then he said it still means “losing July too” as countries won’t be lifting the travel ban in time.
Tourism accounts for around 12 per cent of Turkey’s economy, with 45m tourists visiting in 2019, a record for the country, but fell by 71 per cent last year.
Turkish Hoteliers Federation Chairman Sururi Corabatir told Reuters: “We had hopes for 2021. But unfortunately the case numbers have not been at the desired levels.”
TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM
The UK traffic light system will allow Brits to travel this summer – however there will be some restrictions.
The Transport Secretary announced that Brits can finally get their foreign getaways booked in, but the list of green list areas is very short.
They include Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Gibraltar, Israel, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Singapore, Brunie and Singapore.
And New Zealand and Australia are also on the list – but they have their own entry requirements and are unlikely to let in tourists at the moment.
France, Greece and Spain are not yet on the green list, meaning Brits will have to wait at least another three weeks to find if they can go on holiday there this summer.
Brits are advised not to book anywhere on the amber list, just in case things get worse and it turns red.
Mr Shapps said: “Today marks the first step in our cautious return to international travel, with measures designed above all else to protect public health and ensure we don’t throw away the hard-fought gains we’ve all strived to earn this year.
“This is a new way of doing things, and people should expect travel to be different this summer – with longer checks at the borders, as part of tough measures to prevent new strains of the virus entering the country and putting our fantastic vaccine rollout at risk.”
Any countries on the red list will require returning Brits to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days to stop the spread of Covid.
Quarantine hotels launched in February for all arrivals from “high risk” countries, with a 10-day stay costing travellers £1,750 each.
If passengers leave the quarantine hotel before their 10 days are up, they will be handed a £5,000 coronavirus fine, but this figure can increase up to £10,000.
Travellers coming into England from the red list countries have to book a stay at a quarantine hotel through an online booking platform.
An individual travelling alone will have to pay £1,750 for their ten-day stay, which includes the cost of the hotel, transport from the airport and testing.
However, a second person sharing a room will pay £650, making the total £2,400 for two. The rate for children will be £325.
Passengers are only be able to enter through small number of ports, and they will then be escorted to select hotels that will be closed to general members of the public.
Guests remain in their rooms and not mix with anyone else, with visible security in place.
In addition to their negative Covid test before arrival into England, they then have to take a second and third test on day two and day eight after they enter the country.