When will Turkey come off the red list?

Grant Shapps provides update on the UK travel list

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Turkey has been on the Government’s travel red list since May 12 and at every review, its status has remained unchanged. But for some time, prospective travellers have been hopeful Turkey will be removed from the Government’s red list.

A petition to remove Turkey from the red list has gained more than 35,000 signatures on the Parliament petitions website.

The Government responded to the petition in late June, stating Turkey was placed on the red list to “help prevent the importation of variants of concern and to protect the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme at a critical time”.

The outcome of the last review of the traffic light system was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday, July 14, with no changes announced for Turkey.

As a red list country, people are not advised to fly to Turkey, and they face mandatory hotel quarantine upon their return to the UK at their own expense if they do.

Will Turkey come off the red list?

Covid rates reached a daily peak above 60,000 in Turkey around April and May.

High levels of Covid cases in Turkey at this time may have contributed to the Government’s decision to red list the country from May 12.

After lockdown in Turkey eased in mid-May, a low of 4,418 Covid cases were reported on July 4.

But at the last travel review on July 14, Turkey was not removed from the red list, despite relatively low case numbers.

As of Sunday, July 25, Turkey’s coronavirus cases have jumped to 14,230.

The latest figure is more than triple the low case numbers reported in early July.

Data from the health ministry also showed a daily death toll of 55 people, Reuters reported.

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The day prior, Turkey reported 12,381 cases on Saturday and 58 deaths due to COVID-19.

Rising Covid cases may mean Turkey is not removed from the travel red list at the next review.

Along with rising Covid cases, Turkey may not be removed from the red list due to its status as a travel hub.

According to the i, Turkey and Dubai were both added to the red list earlier this year, amid fears both travel hub destinations could be at risk of spreading the emerging Delta variant.

Now the Delta variant has become the dominant virus strain in the UK, concern about the Delta variant spreading in Turkey may no longer be a major factor in deciding the country’s travel list status.

On this basis, the Government may decide Turkey should be moved off the red list to the amber list at the next review.

But as the last few months have demonstrated, the reasoning behind the Government’s traffic light allocations is dependent on several factors, and often decisions have been surprising.

When is the next travel review?

The Government is reviewing the travel red list roughly every three weeks, announcing the decision on either a Wednesday or Thursday.

The last announcement was made on July 14, with changes coming into effect from Monday, July 19.

Depending on whether the update comes on a Wednesday or Thursday, the next review update is expected on Wednesday, August 4 or Thursday, August 5.

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