Egypt, Maldives and Sri Lanka remain on Foreign Office ‘no-go’ list, despite red list removal

Exclusive: ‘There is either a risk or there isn’t,’ says Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, Advantage Travel Partnership

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 22 September 2021 10:09

Eight nations have been moved from the UK’s “red list,” which means arrivals no longer need go into hotel quarantine. But while holidays to Turkey, Kenya, Pakistan and Oman can now go ahead, Egypt, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka remain on the Foreign Office no-go list “based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks”.

A leading travel industry figure has deplored what she called “huge complexities and confusion” in the government’s approach.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, told The Independent: “Last week the transport secretary announced a ‘simplification’ of the rules in relation to international travel.

“Whilst the rules from 4 October become less onerous for those fully vaccinated, there are still huge complexities and confusion travellers will need to overcome.

“The latest became a reality this morning when half of the eight countries moving from red to amber still have a travel advisory from the FCDO advising against all but essential travel to the country ‘based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks’.

“There is either a risk or there isn’t. If a country is amber then the FCDO advise in relation to Covid risk must be updated otherwise its red.

“We need the government to ensure complete clarity is given to Brits because its communication in relation to international travel thus far has been anything but.”

The Independent has asked the Foreign Office for a response. The decision to keep Egypt, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on the list of nations where the FCDO warns against non-essential journeys means that standard travel insurance is not valid.

Ms Lo Bue-Said made her call as the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced that vaccinations administered in the UAE would be recognised by the UK from 4 October.

It has been added to the 54 other nations whose vaccinations the UK will recognise from 4 October.

But jabs administered in Turkey, India, anywhere in Africa and more than 100 other countries are not acceptable for avoiding quarantine in the UK.

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