For those of you who are planning trips, The UK Government has updated its Red List. These are countries where direct travel is banned.
The countries that will be added to the UK Red List include:
The travel bans will go into effect from 4 am Friday 19 March 2021
Arrivals from these countries from those dates (via other countries) – be they British Nationals, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights (including long-term visa holders) s will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.
The government argues that the move will help to reduce the risk of new variants – such as those first identified in South Africa and Brazil – entering England.
A ban on commercial and private planes travelling from Oman, Ethiopia and Qatar will also come into force on Friday to reduce the risk of importing variants of concern.
This excludes cargo and freight without passengers.
Meanwhile, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) and Mauritius will be removed from England’s red list. The flight and maritime ban from Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) will also be removed, following evidence that shows the risk of importing a variant of concern from these destinations has reduced.
Portugal has put steps in place to mitigate the risk from its links with countries where variants have become a concern, and now has genomic surveillance in place.
Arrivals from Portugal into England will no longer be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility. However, they must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival to the UK at home and take a COVID-19 test on day 2 and day 8 and will be able to able to end self-isolation early through Test to Release. Passengers from these destinations who arrived before 4 am on Friday 19 March must stay in their hotel for the remainder of their 10-day quarantine period.
The new Red List
Per the new red list at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of-covid-19, it looks like this:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Ethiopia (will be added to the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- French Guiana
- Mauritius (will be removed from the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- Oman (will be added to the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) (will be removed from the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- Qatar (will be added to the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- Somalia (will be added to the list 4am Friday 19 March)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Closing off important connections
Whilst the move to protect the United Kingdom is expected, it will close off another route for those seeking to return to the United Kingdom. Qatar is a major Middle-Eastern hub (with Qatar Airways at its core), providing connectivity around the world.
Being sliced off is going to hurt people seeking to return to the UK and may require you to return home earlier than planned from these destinations.
If you have routings via Qatar or Addis Ababa, you either need to move them up before the ban or find new routes back to the United Kingdom.
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