UK Red List revision, significant changes expected soon

Sept 17, 2021: The UK’s international travel ban list is set to change dramatically for the first time since May 2021.

With the relaxation of the testing system for fully vaccinated travelers in the UK, it is likely that some countries will be removed from the “red list” – requiring hotel quarantine for all arrivals.

Currently, 62 countries are most at risk. The government says the criteria for inclusion in the red list are: “Leading types of concern, resulting in high-risk variables under investigation or as a result of excessive country or regional spread of Covid 19.”

Two prominent data analysts, Tim White and Ben McCluskey have shared their insights on the ten most likely candidates who will make it off the Red List.

The countries likely to make it off the UK Red List are; Pakistan, Maldives, Turkey, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Mexico and South Africa. The countries less likely to be removed from the list are; Egypt, Thailand, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Bangladesh.

According to Mr McCluskey: “There is no other country in the world other than the Maldives that can be removed from the UK’s ‘red’ list. No one tested positive when they came to the UK. Cases are falling, more than 60% of the population is now fully employed, and more importantly, the latest genomic sequencing data shows no cause for concern.

In addition, several countries have lobbied to be removed from the red list. Earlier this week, David Frost, chief executive of Satsa, which represents South Africa’s domestic tourism industry, said: “Every week the UK puts South Africa on its red list.”

“Every week the UK Red List retains South Africa on its list it erodes the vital economic and environmental ties between our two countries.

He added, “Long after the threat from the pandemic fades, memories of Britain’s duplicity will endure.”

Paul Goldstein, co-owner of the Ketchi Safari Campus in Kenya, said: “Kenya turns green on all six criteria that the government sets for determining the color of light. It is currently red.

Sharing his thoughts on what countries are likely to end up on the UK’s Red List anew; Mc Cluskey said, the COVID19 speread in Jamaica and Grenada has gotten worse amongst the countries in the Caribbean and so they may be placed on the list. He also thought it likely that Balkan state Serbia would follow Montenegro in being placed on the list thanks to the elevated number of cases.

Donal Kane, an analyst thinks the UK Red List should be scrapped entirely. Tweeting as @EvilDoctorK, he said: “There is really no justification for having a red list at all at this stage.

“There should be liberal entry for vaccinated travellers from anywhere, perhaps with some surveillance testing.”

Unvaccinated travellers would face tougher restrictions, he said – “but not hotel quarantine”.

Robert Boyle of Gridpoint Consulting, commented on the UK Red List saying: “The effort and resources expended on the red list public health theatrics would be better directed to improving vaccinations, disease surveillance and testing in countries that may pose a risk.”

However, all indications are that there will be some form of red or remain “unsafe for travel” list for the foreseeable future.

Grant Schapps, the UK’s transport secretary, is expected to reveal the government’s latest update to the UK’s travel rules in a statement on Friday 17 September.

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