In the latest review to its traffic light system for international travel, the government announced the revised green, amber and red lists, which dictate the severity of restrictions faced by arrivals upon entering the UK.
Brits returning from red countries are subject to the harshest rules, and must pay for an 11-night package at a mandated quarantine hotel, at a cost of £1,750 per solo traveller.
While it was hoped that some destinations might move from red to amber in the latest reshuffle, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both beloved by British travellers, remain stuck on red.
The previous red list of 50 destinations has now grown even further to 56 countries, with Haiti, Uganda, Tunisia, Eritrea, Mongolia and the Dominican Republic all adding to its ranks.
While most places end up on the red list due to spiralling Covid infection rates and/or a high prevalence of virus variants of concern, some destinations, such as the UAE, are classified as red purely because they are international aviation hubs.
With thousands of travellers passing through the UAE daily on connecting flights, the UK government has argued it would be nigh on impossible to determine whether arrivals had originated from a red list country.
Amber list arrivals still face onerous restrictions: they’re required to quarantine at home for 10 days and pay for a package of two PCR tests.
Those in England may pay for an extra test from day five of self-isolation onwards which, if negative, allows them to cut short their quarantine.
Although amber list returnees still face prohibitive restrictions at present, the government has confirmed its plan to allow fully vaccinated travellers to skip quarantine when arriving from amber-listed countries, although they will still be required to take a test.
It intends this change to take effect from “later in the summer”.
The government will also remove the guidance that people should not travel to amber countries.
Meanwhile, Madeira, the Balearics and Malta were added to the select green list from where returning travellers need not quarantine upon arrival into the UK, although all but Malta will be on the “green watchlist”.
Green list travellers must simply take one PCR test within two days of arrival.