The number of countries on the UK’s ‘red list’ continues to grow. The red list is the government’s list of countries from which travel to England comes with strict restrictions. The rules are intended to protect the UK from new variants of coronavirus.
The latest country to be added to the list is India. But which other countries are on the red list? We take a look.
What are the current travel rules in the UK?
At present, international travel for holidays is banned. You can only travel abroad if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, such as work, education or medical treatment.
However, self-contained holiday accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets are now open in England. However, for now, you are only permitted to travel alone or with members of your household.
The same venues have been open in Wales since 27 March. In Scotland, domestic tourism will be permitted from 26 April. No specific dates have been set for the resumption of domestic travel in Northern Ireland.
Which countries are on the UK’s red list?
The full list of countries on the UK’s red list is:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- French Guiana
- India (from 23 April)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
What are the rules for the countries on the UK’s red list?
Anyone who has visited or travelled through any of the countries in the red list in the previous 10 days will be denied entry into the UK. There will, however, be an exception for British and Irish citizens or residents.
These people will be allowed to enter the country, but they must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days after arrival.
According to the BBC, the cost of quarantine in England begins at £1,750 per passenger travelling alone. This will cover transport, tests, food and accommodation.
Every additional adult or child over 12 will have to pay £650, while the cost for children between the ages of five and 12 will be about £325.
Further, these people must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to gain entry into the UK.
Those found breaking the rules face stiff penalties, including prison sentences of up to 10 years.
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What is the traffic light system and how does it differ from the red list?
The government has said that it will introduce a traffic light system for reopening foreign travel when the current ban ends.
Countries will be classified into three categories under the system: red, amber, and green. People travelling from countries in the red category will face the most stringent quarantine and testing restrictions.
Red countries are likely to be those with high infection rates and low vaccination rates, a high prevalence of concerning variants, and a low capacity for testing and sequencing of variants.
Countries on the green list are likely to be those with successful and widespread vaccination programs. Quarantine-free travel could potentially be opened up for these countries.
Can I book an international holiday?
You can, but it’s wise to be cautious.
It might be best to wait until the government releases more details about the traffic light system, including the list of countries in each category.
But keep in mind that the status of each country will be subject to review and could change.
To protect yourself, consider taking out travel insurance. Depending on the type of cover, it could help you recover your losses if coronavirus restrictions scupper your holiday plans.
You can also protect yourself by booking a package holiday instead of flights and hotels separately. Most package holidays are ATOL-protected (check to confirm). This will cover you in the event that your travel company goes bust before or during your holiday.
Finally, you can also protect yourself by paying for your holiday with a credit card.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes card issuers equally responsible for the delivery of products or services. This means that if an operator cancels your holiday, you could claim a refund from your card issuer.
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