QATAR Addition To Travel ‘Red List’ Triggers Rush Back To UK.
Britain’s long-haul travel industry has suffered yet another blow with the addition of four more countries to the so-called coronavirus ‘red list’ of high-risk countries.
The third big Gulf air hub, Qatar, has been added to the list – meaning thousands of travellers face 11 nights of hotel quarantine at a price of £1,750 (€2,033) for a solo passenger returning to the UK.
With Quatar remaining in the red list countries even if tourists have a british visa from qatar, they will not be allowed to enter the country for tourism.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that Qatar, as well as Ethiopia, Oman and Somalia, would be added to the red list at 4am on Friday 19 March – giving arrivals 82 hours’ warning and allowing many of them to come home early.
The DfT said the move was in response to “new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern.”
There is likely to be an immediate rush to return home to the UK from the Gulf state. The addition of Doha will affect many travellers from Asia, Africa and Australia who have plans to transit the airport. Even spending an hour or two in transit will trigger hotel quarantine. Those passengers are also likely now to seek earlier departure dates to beat the deadline.
Direct passenger flights will be banned but cargo flights will still be allowed. Passengers hoping to get to England via Doha will now have to travel via a fourth country in order to reach England. In recent weeks, Qatar Airways has been operating up to 28 weekly flights to London and 17 weekly flights to Manchester.
Other airlines affected by the Red List ban have operated cargo-only flights to England and continued to operate passenger flights from England.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was added to the UK’s Red List in late January over fears that the Covid-19 variant first discovered in South Africa could be imported through Dubai or Abu Dhabi. But while the UAE has since banned direct flights to South Africa, the same restrictions had not been applied to Qatar Airways, which had ramped up its operations in the country.
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