The biggest upheaval in UK international travel restrictions since May 2021 is imminent.
Coupled with a relaxation of the testing regime for fully vaccinated travelers to the UK, it is likely that some countries will be removed from the “red list” – which requires hotel quarantine for all arrivals.
There are currently 62 countries in the highest risk category. The government’s criteria for inclusion on the Red List are as follows: “Known variants of concern, known high-risk variants that are being investigated or as a result of a very high prevalence of Covid-19 in the country or territory.”
Arrivals from Red List countries must pay £ 2,285 (for solo travelers) for 11 nights in hotel quarantine.
The independent one asked two Covid data analysts, Tim White and Ben McCluskey, to rate the chances of each of a dozen popular nations being redlisted out of 10 – 10 is most likely.
These are their average values:
Most likely to move away from the red list:
- Maldives 9
- Pakistan 7
- Turkey 7
- Kenya 6.5
- Sri Lanka 6.5
- Mexico 6
- South Africa 6
Least likely removed from the Red List:
- Dominican Republic 5
- Bangladesh 4.5
- Egypt 2.5
- Thailand 2
- Brazil 0.5
Which countries could be removed from the Red List and why?
McCluskey said: “No other country stands out more than the Maldives when it is removed from the UK’s ‘red’ list. No one from there has tested positive on arrival in the UK since the end of May, according to the latest data from NHS Test and Trace. Cases have decreased, over 60 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated and, more importantly, the latest genome sequencing data does not reveal any worrisome variants. “
In addition, a number of nations have campaigned for it to be removed from the Red List. Earlier this week, David Frost, CEO of Satsa, who represents the incoming tourism industry in southern Africa, said: “Each week the UK puts South Africa on its red list and undermines the important economic and environmental ties between our two countries.
“Long after the pandemic threat has faded, memories of Britain’s duplicity will last.”
Paul Goldstein, co-owner of Kicheche Safari Camps in Kenya, said: “Kenya turns green for all six criteria the government uses to determine the color of light. It is currently red.
Which countries could be included in the Red List and why?
Ben McCluskey warned that other nations could be put on the red list, including those from the Caribbean. “While Jamaica avoided the Red List in the last review, the number of newcomers who tested positive has risen from 2.7 percent to 4.5 percent.
“I don’t think it’s a definitive one, but one to look out for.”
Mr White is keeping an eye on the Balkans – where Montenegro was suddenly put on the Red List three weeks ago.
“Serbia has moved to a level of danger, but not to the extent that Montenegro blushed,” said Mr White.
“But Serbia has not uploaded any genome sequencing that could be counted against.
“In the Caribbean, Grenada has deteriorated and, according to previous criteria, would very likely turn red. It could be the first nation to suddenly switch from green to red. “
When does the red list end?
Two other commentators said the red list should be removed completely.
Donal Kane, the analyst who tweeted as @EvilDoctorK, said, “At this point there really is no justification for a red list.
“Vaccinated travelers should have free access from anywhere, perhaps with some surveillance tests.”
Unvaccinated travelers would face stricter restrictions, he said – “but no hotel quarantine”.
Robert Boyle of Gridpoint Consulting said, “The effort and resources devoted to the Red List of Public Health Theaters would be better directed towards improving vaccinations, disease monitoring and testing in countries that could pose a risk. “
However, everything indicates that there will be some sort of red or “unsafe travel” list for the foreseeable future.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to be released on Friday, Jan.