Turkey expects to be removed from UK's red list for travel

Case numbers are falling and more than half of the country's adults have received two vaccine shots, Turkey says

Turkey expects to be removed from the UK’s red list for travel when the government updates its coronavirus travel restrictions on Thursday, the Turkish embassy in London told The National.

The embassy said that case numbers are falling to lower than those in the UK and that its seven-day rolling average for new cases in Turkey is 232.46, while in the UK it is 464.76.

Five other countries — Egypt, Pakistan, the Maldives, Dominican Republic and Oman — are also potential candidates for turning amber, according to data analyst Tim White.

“A long list of countries [allows] travellers from Turkey without quarantine requirement if they are vaccinated with two doses... In the same vein, EU Commission just recently decided to accept Covid certificates issued by Turkey,” the statement read.

The red list means visitors returning to the UK have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days and pay £2,285 ($3,126) per person.

Passengers arriving from amber list countries only need to isolate for 10 days on arrival in the UK and they can be released after day five with a negative test result.

Travellers coming from countries with amber status who have been fully vaccinated with inoculations approved and administered in the UK, EU and US do not have to self-isolate, but must provide a negative Covid-19 test within two days of arrival.

“The scientific data on Covid-19 support our expectation that Turkey will be removed from the red list at the upcoming review,” the Turkish embassy in London said.

More than half of adults in Turkey have received two doses of vaccine and the EU has begun accepting Turkey’s Covid certificates, it said.

“We expect the UK to take into account all these developments and remove Turkey from the red list this week,” the embassy said.

Covid mutations of concern, like the Delta variant, are also low in Turkey, Turkey says.

“Turkey very much deserves to be on the amber list as it has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas, and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates,” said Paul Charles, from the PC Agency travel consultancy.

“Many agree it feels safer there than it does in the UK.”

But Mr White, from Tim White Media, said Turkey was a “borderline candidate” to turn amber.

Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Morocco could be moved on to the red list, and eight green-list destinations, including Croatia, could be moved to amber, The PC Agency said.

Changes to the traffic light system are made after assessments that cover transmission risk and variants of concern, the Department of Transport said.

While Turkish tourism has experienced a strong rebound from last year, with foreign visitor arrivals for July jumping four-fold to 4.36 million, it remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Many hotels in the southern Aegean region, which rely heavily on British tourists, may close by the end of August if Britain does not remove Turkey from its red list, tourism officials say.

Turkey's economy is also heavily reliant on Russian and German tourists.

Updated: August 24th 2021, 3:28 PM
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