Bulgaria bans UK travellers after being added to green list

Cyprus, Spain, Fiji and Kuwait also added to Bulgaria’s red list

Coronavirus in numbers

Bulgaria has banned UK travellers from entry just days after being upgraded to the UK’s green list for travel.

The country announced that the UK would be added to its “red zone” list, along with Cyprus, Spain, Fiji and Kuwait.

Bulgaria’s health minister Stoicho Katsarov issued the order on Friday, with changes coming into effect on 19 July – the same date that Bulgaria officially joins the UK’s green list.

The move from the government in Sofia coincided with the Foreign Office lifting its warning against all but essential travel to Bulgaria.

People from red zone countries are not allowed into Bulgaria barring a handful of exemptions, such as medical professionals and seasonal workers.

It means that holidays there are off the cards again, just after travellers’ hopes were raised when UK transport secretary Grant Shapps added the Balkan nation to the green list in his 14 July review.

Green countries currently have the lightest restrictions for returning passengers: arrivals to the UK have no need to quarantine and must take two Covid tests, one pre-departure and one post-arrival.

However, the same lighter restrictions will apply to fully vaccinated Britons and accompanying under-18s arriving into Britain from amber countries from 19 July.

Prior to the latest announcement, the UK was on Bulgaria’s “amber zone” list, meaning travellers were permitted entry if they could show proof of full vaccination, previous recovery from Covid or a negative PCR test taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival.

Bulgaria has a similar traffic light system to the UK, with countries classified as green, amber or red according to risk and assigned restrictions to match.

Its red list is now comprised of 40 destinations in total: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar (Burma), Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Seychelles, Namibia, Zambia, Tunisia, Oman, Malaysia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Surinam, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Spain, Kuwait, Fiji, Cyprus and the UK.

Data and Covid expert Tim White commented on the UK’s downgrade to the red zone: “More chaos for travel agencies.”

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