a city with a river and a city in the distance
Image by Selim Mohammed from Pixabay

The UK hasn’t been the easiest place to reach for much of the pandemic. Though it was never officially “closed”, a constantly changing traffic light system with varying lengths of quarantine made it incredibly difficult to plan or visit.

That’s finally changed for fully vaccinated US and EU visitors, who can now enter without quarantine, assuming that’s where they’ve been in the last 14 days.

But for anyone who enters the UK via a “red list” country, even just transiting through the airport in Doha, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi or Dubai, a costly hotel quarantine currently awaits!

The policy has made it impossible for Brits to fly Emirates or Qatar Airways to green and orange list destinations, knowing even if they do not leave the airport, they’ll be classed as a red list arrival, since they transited through one. That’s set to change, as England, and perhaps the UK is set to end this restrictive policy.

a cityscape with a river and a body of water
Image by Selim Mohammed from Pixabay

UK To Drop Red List Transit Restriction?

According to The Telegraph, officials in England are set to drop hotel quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated people who travel “airside” via a red list country and do not enter. That’s the key: you can’t enter any of these countries, but flying through one would ne ok.

This means if you’re flying to London from a green list destination, such as Singapore, via Doha which is on the red list, you wouldn’t be forced into paying £1750 for hotel quarantine, just because you had a connecting flight in Doha.

You’d still be a “green list” arrival, without the need to quarantine. If, however, you leave the “airside” bit of the airport, you would be classed as “red list” and forced into the hotel quarantine at great expense.

In addition, talks of expanding an “amber list” have been quashed by Boris Johnson, as the PM looks to move forward with opening the country and reducing restrictions.

Many details, many of which are key, remain unclear.

It’s not entirely certain whether this will only apply to fully vaccinated England residents, or whether all tourist visitors who are fully vaccinated and simply transiting through a red list country can visit per the current rules of their departure point and any places they’ve been in the 10 days before travel.

Full details are expected in the week. Like many other countries, the UK is assessing which of the global vaccines will be accepted as sufficient proof of inoculation, which may not include all vaccines used in all countries. This is a key global issue, along with digitally verifying vaccination proof, in reopening borders without restriction to travel.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has urged PM Boris Johnson to open up travel and end travel restrictions, which are argued to put England behind other countries in the economic recovery from covid-19.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I’m guessing that this never happened then? Work in an Amber country but HAVE to transit a red country. 5 Hours ‘airside’ gets me a hotel stay?

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