The holidays are starting to open up more, with many Britons desperate to return to Turkey.
The Mediterranean country is a favorite with British holidaymakers, but it has been inaccessible for many months – though that could all be about to change.
Will Turkey go on the Amber list?
It has been on the red list since May, which means tourists wishing to visit one of the UK’s favorite holiday destinations would have to quarantine themselves at a designated hotel for 10 days, at a cost of £ 2,285.
But the Environment Secretary said a Cabinet subcommittee meeting scheduled to take place on Friday could approve changes to travel rules, which could affect Turkey.
The green and orange lists are expected to merge to form a low risk country category while the number of destinations on the red list will be reduced.
Turkey is believed to be one of the countries removed from the red list, with The temperature signaling that the red list of countries will be reduced by more than half.
Travel expert Tim White once said I The UK government’s “widespread disbelief” of Turkey’s numbers is why it remains on the Red List.
A previous non-quarantined “travel corridor” between Turkey and the UK was abolished in October last year over concerns over the accuracy of Turkey’s data.
The transport ministry said at the time it had cut Turkey out because its health ministry defined the number of new cases in a “different way.”
However, the embassy recently said that Turkey has now stepped up its genome sequencing – allowing scientists to detect different variants of Covid.
What other changes are in store?
There is also speculation that fully vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to pass a pre-departure lateral flow test or a post-arrival PCR test.
However, there may be stricter rules for the unvaccinated, as they will need to self-quarantine upon their return from any country and take two PCR tests on the second and eighth day.
Hotel quarantine remains for remaining Red List countries, even for double-bitten Britons
George Eustice told Sky News: “I understand no decision has been made yet, although I understand there may be a meeting today to review this. We review these travel restrictions on a regular basis.
“Obviously, we took an important step earlier this summer when we removed the need to quarantine countries from Amber List countries – it was a really big step forward – but we kept the need testing, and that is really so that we can pick up all the variants of concern through this PCR test.
“But, look, I know this has been brought up by the travel industry, that they think some of this testing may be unnecessary, may be onerous – the government will listen to that and the Cabinet Covid subcommittee that decides of these things will probably consider this later in the day.
When is the next travel update?
Reviews of the UK’s traffic light system regarding travel restrictions take place every three weeks, with the latest announcement taking place on August 26.
This update took place on a Thursday (which was previously the most common day for them), although the previous two reviews both took place on Wednesday.
While many updates have been leaked, the official announcement of the next review is expected to be made on Friday, September 17.
Unlike other major developments in Covid’s response, travel updates tend not to be accompanied by a government press conference – the changes are instead tweeted by Mr Shapps.
However, with the broader changes on offer, it’s likely that today’s update will feature a more formal announcement.
What are the current traffic light system rules?
The traffic light system is decided on the basis of the following criteria:
- The percentage of a country’s population that has been vaccinated
- The infection rate
- The prevalence of worrisome variants
- The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing
There are now four categories of traffic lights, one more than when Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps first announced the system in May 2021.
- Green: arrivals must pass a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return. Quarantine does not apply (unless the Covid test comes back positive) and there is no requirement for further testing.
- Green Watch List: the same rules as the green list. However, the countries on this list “are at risk of going from green to orange”, potentially in the very short term.
- Amber: all travelers must pass a pre-departure test three days before return and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test no later than the second day of their return. Unvaccinated travelers should also self-isolate for 10 days and have a second PCR test on day 8. An optional five-day additional test may be performed, with a negative result allowing unvaccinated travelers to “test” out of quarantine. The Day 8 PCR test should always be performed regardless of the result of the optional Day 5 PCR test.
- Red: arrivals from Red List countries must complete a 10 day stay in a managed quarantine hotel at a cost of £ 2,285 per person, pre-departure testing and mandatory PCR testing no later than day 2 and on or after the eighth day.
Additional report from the Press Association.