In the latest review to its traffic light system for international travel, the government announced the revised green, amber and red lists, which dictate the severity of restrictions faced by arrivals upon entering the UK.
Brits returning from red countries are subject to the harshest rules, and must pay for an 11-night package at a mandated quarantine hotel, at a cost of £2,285 per solo traveller.
While it was hoped that some destinations might move from red to amber in the latest reshuffle on 26 August – including Turkey, the Maldives and Pakistan – not a single country managed to make the leap.
The red list has now grown to 62 countries, following the announcement of the latest additions, Montenegro and Thailand.
The Turkish government in Ankara, as well as the travel industry in the UK, had lobbied intensively for Turkey to be taken off the high-risk register and moved to the “amber list” in this latest round of changes – meaning travellers fully vaccinated in the UK, US or EU would not need to self-isolate on return.
Turkey had even gone so far as to state it “expected” to be removed from the red list ahead of the government review.
The embassy in London said it believed the “scientific data” should finally secure it a place on the amber list.
“The scientific data on Covid-19 support our expectation that Turkey will be removed from the red list at the upcoming review,” it said in a statement shared with Sky News.
The embassy highlighted that its seven-day average for new Covid infections is 232.46 per 100,000 according to Our World In Data – roughly half that of the UK’s rate of 464.76.
The EU recently agreed to accept Covid certificates issued in Turkey, while the embassy also argued that the nation has improved its genomic sequencing and has fully vaccinated more than half of all adults.
“We expect the UK to take into account all these developments and remove Turkey from the red list this week,” said the embassy’s statement.
There is now little to no chance the country will be upgraded until the next round of changes, expected on 16 September.
Seven countries were added to the green list in the latest update: the Azores, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Switzerland.
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