Policy changes from 11th October removes the mandatory quarantine period for 47 countries including Turkey.
The British government announced some major changes to the previously complex Red List. These changes are meant to boost tourism in the UK once again after a long year spent in lock-down. Under these new policies and regulations, the destinations will no longer be ranked in the traffic light system which was unappreciated by many travelers. They will instead be ranked low to high based on the severity of cases in different countries.
New Travel Policy
Following this update, 47 countries, including Turkey, were removed from the Red List therefore allowing them to enter the UK without the need of a quarantine plan at a hotel. Passengers arriving from these countries would just be subjected to a PCR test on day 2 as long as they’re fully vaccinated. This PCR test would be much cheaper as compared to the hundreds of pounds travelers had to pay for the previous ones from private labs,
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport of the United Kingdom, said in a Twitter statement, “Mandatory PCR tests will be gone in time for October half-term for vaccinated adults and families seeking some winter sun abroad. From 24 Oct take a cheaper lateral flow test on return, to make travelling easier and simpler for everyone”.
Reopening Tourist Destinations
To boost tourism in the UK,vaccinations given in other countries including Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea are to be recognized, therefore moving these countries further down in the Red List. Previously, only vaccinations from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union were recognized. Turkey was among one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Red List with millions of people travelling to Turkey from the UK every year. That was before the pandemic hit. COVID-19 travel restrictions, coupled up with expensive quarantine plans that costed over £2000 were a major hit on Turkey’s tourism industry.
Although Turkey’s tourism industry had seen a strong rebound since the pandemic, with millions of foreign visitors coming over from various destinations, it has yet to reach the numbers they had pre-covid due to UK still having them on the Red List.
Following the announcement of the updated Red List, people have already started pre-booking their holiday plans to Turkey through different travel agencies. Flights to Turkey in the upcoming months have already been fully pre-booked with people scrambling to fight seats to go on their much awaited vacations. Moreover, Shapps adds, “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry”
Terms and Conditions
It is worth noting that the above mentioned changes are initially only applicable for England. Scotland, Wales and Ireland have yet to announce their updated travel policies. However, it is likely that they will follow similar protocols to that of England.
Another thing worth noting, the above mentioned relaxations in policies for Turkey only apply for vaccinated individuals. While vaccinated individuals from Turkey only need to take a PCR test on Day 2 to enter the UK, non-vaccinated individuals will still have to isolate for 10 days in the quarantine facility just as everyone else still on the Red List. The British government is hoping this would further motivate people to get vaccinated instead of spending over £2000 in quarantine.
Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said in a statement, “Based on the scientific evidence, with fewer than 1% of people returning from low-risk countries testing positive for COVID-19, lower than the U.K.’s rate, we urge ministers to keep this policy under review, eliminating all testing for fully vaccinated travelers as soon as possible in the future, in line with most other European countries”.