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Qatar Ends ‘Amber’ Designation for Entry

Qatar has simplified its Covid-19 entry rules, removing some requirements for travelers from the U.S. and other countries, the country’s tourism press office announced.

Like the United Kingdom, Qatar has eliminated its “amber” designation, in which the United States was included, and now only has “green” and “red” designations. The U.S. now is among the 188 countries designated as green, meaning fully vaccinated travelers are exempt from quarantine and need only provide a negative PCR Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Fully vaccinated visitors from red countries, in addition to the pre-travel test, are required to undergo a hotel quarantine for up to two days upon arrival. They will undergo testing upon arrival at the hotel and be released when they get a negative test result.

Unvaccinated visitors from both green and red countries are required to undergo a seven-day hotel quarantine, with release dependent upon testing negative at the end of the quarantine period.

Qatar also has nine countries designated on an “exceptional red list,” including India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. Entry requirements are largely the same for vaccinated travelers from the red list, except they also will have to take a serology antibody test at the quarantine hotel as well as the Covid-19 test. Unvaccinated visitors from the exceptional red list countries are not allowed into Qatar at all.

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Travel news live: Latest updates as quarter of amber list travellers ignore Covid rules

Nearly a quarter of amber arrivals to the UK haven’t been following the government’s Covid-19 rules, according to new research.

Some 23 per cent of travellers either didn’t self-isolate for 10 days as required or failed to complete the prescribed set of two PCR tests on days two and eight of quarantine, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found.

The UK’s national statistical institute surveyed 848 travellers who arrived in the country between 12-17 July, only to find that 41 per cent misunderstood the rules or were unsure of them.

Meanwhile, Heathrow Airport has been crippled by “unacceptable” queues at passport control.

Heathrow said that Border Force, which manages the checkpoint at the airport, knew there would be extra demand and said they were “very disappointed” that they did not have enough staff on duty on Friday night.

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World Cup qualifier stopped as players accused of flouting travel rules

Brazilian health officials ran onto the pitch at São Paulo after only a few minutes of play, to apprehend Argentinian footballers who belong to English Premier League clubs – accusing them of breaching quarantine rules.

Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez and Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso were the four Argentinian players accused of flouting travel restrictions to play in the match.

The FCDO advice makes it clear that Brazil has suspended permission for foreigners (including Argentinians) who have been in the UK during the previous 14 days.

Even if special permission to enter is granted, travellers must quarantine for two weeks.

On return to the UK, the players face 11 nights in hotel quarantine because all of South America has been on the “red list” for the past seven months.

It is understood that the footballers plan to legally “launder” their quarantine by spending the equivalent time in green-listed Croatia before travelling to the UK.

Simon Calder6 September 2021 09:18


Heathrow queues ease – for people with the right kind of passport

Passengers arriving at Heathrow airport are reporting shorter queues for passport control. One traveller from New York told The Independent that arrivals with UK or European Union passports were able to clear the UK Border in a few minutes, while other nationalities are facing longer waits. A student arriving from Hong Kong on British Airways said she had had to wait two hours – but praised the politeness of UK Border Force staff.

“It’s not easy to be nice so early in the morning,” she said.

On the arrivals screens at Heathrow Terminal 5, the many British Airways holiday arrivals of Sunday evening – from Mediterranean islands such as Santorini, Mykonos and Ibiza – have been replaced by business locations such as Copenhagen, Berlin and Geneva.

Simon Calder6 September 2021 08:49


UK bottom of European table for international flight recovery

International flights to European destinations in July and August reached 39.9 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, significantly better than last year (which was 26.6 per cent).

According to data shared by ForwardKeys, Greece was the stand-out, achieving 86 per cent of 2019’s July and August arrivals.

It was followed by Cyprus (64.5 per cent), Turkey (62 per cent) and Iceland (61.8 per cent).

However, the UK languished at the bottom of the list, achieving just 14.3 per cent of 2019 flight levels.

Helen Coffey6 September 2021 08:07


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog. We’ll be covering all the latest news throughout the day.

Helen Coffey6 September 2021 08:02

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Travel update: Which countries went on the green list, amber list and red list

The Government has announced the results of the latest travel review, with key European destinations like Spain, France, Portugal and Greece remaining on the amber list.

There was movement on all three lists in the update, although Turkey remained on the red list in a blow to hopeful holidaymakers.

While experts correctly predicted that Spain wouldn’t turn red, many of the countries thought to be in with a shot of the green list remained amber.

The findings of the latest review were announced on 26 August, with changes coming  into effect from 4.00am on Monday 30 August – here’s what happened to each list.

Which countries went from amber to green?

A total of seven countries moved from amber to the green list for quarantine-free travel:

  • the Azores (Portugal)
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Switzerland

Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson said after the announcement: “The latest changes are welcome for Scots with loved ones in Canada but once again show that international travel remains challenging.”

He added: “It is vitally important we protect that progress through continued vigilance on importation, and we continue to urge caution given the risks caused by variants of concern.”

Ahead of the update, Paul Charles of the PC Agency had predicted the likes of Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Poland could also turn green, whileBhutan and the Czech Republic were also thought to have a shot.

Did any countries go on the amber list?

There was no movement from the green list to amber, which was roughly in line with what had been predicted.

Travel expert Tim White told i before the announcement that the mainstream European destinations looked set to remain on the amber list.

He said: “For those worried about their destinations turning red, I don’t think there are many worries for usual tourist destinations.

“I very much doubt any EU destination will be affected. So Greece, Spain and their islands, Cyprus, Portugal etc are all expected to stay amber with the Beta variant almost squeezed out now.”

Mr Charles had suggested that Croatia, Madeira, Lithuania, Antigua and Turks and Caicos could turn amber, while it was Germany and Norway could have been added to the green watchlist.

There was also no movement from the red list to amber, despite hopes that Turkey might finally be set for the amber list, with the country’s embassy insisting “we expect the UK” to make the change.

However, as it transpired it remained on the red list, dashing hopes of a late summer break.

Which countries went onto the red list?

Montenegro and Thailand moved from the amber to the red list with mandatory hotel quarantine restrictions.

The Government said that this move reflected “the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health”.

There had been speculation that the likes of Jamaica, Morocco, Dominica – which is currently on the green list – and St Lucia could all go red ahead of the announcement.

The system is based on the following criteria:

  • The percentage of a country’s population that have been vaccinated
  • The rate of infection
  • Prevalence of variants of concern
  • The country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing

There are currently four traffic light categories.

Green: arrivals must take a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK, as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. They do not have to quarantine unless their test is positive, and there is no requirement for additional tests.

Green watchlist: The same rules apply as for the green list, but countries on this list are “at risk of moving from green to amber”, potentially without much warning.

Amber: all travellers are required to take a pre-departure test three days before returning as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must also self-isolate for 10 days and take a second PCR test on day eight of their return. An optional day-five test can be taken, with a negative result allowing travellers to “test out” of quarantine, but the day-eight test must still be taken regardless of the result.

Red: arrivals must undertake a 10-day quarantine in a managed hotel at a cost of £2,285 per solo adult (with more charges for additional people sharing a room) as well as pre-departure testing, and mandatory PCR testing on or before day two and on or after day eight.

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When is the next UK travel update for green list and amber list countries?

On 17 May, foreign leisure travel got the go-ahead in England.

Holidays resumed under a traffic light system, with destinations graded as red, amber or green according to the level of risk of travellers reimporting Covid-19 infections.

The “green list” was first revealed on 7 May, and the last update was announced on 26 August, and the changes came into effect from 4am on 30 August.

But when will more countries be added to the list, and how often will it be updated?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Which countries are on the green list now?

There are now 43 countries and territories on the green list, a number of which do not currently let in British travellers or are impossible to reach directly, thereby necessitating travel through an amber country.

On 26 August, seven destinations were added: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Azores. None of the existing green list members were pushed down to amber in the latest update. These changes came into effect on Monday 30 August.

Green list in full

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azores
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Israel
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Madeira
  • Malta
  • Montserrat
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

However, 16 of these destinations are on the green watchlist, meaning they are at risk of moving from green to amber:

Green watchlist destinations

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Cayman Islands
  • Croatia
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Israel
  • Madeira
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands

When will the green list be reviewed and updated?

Previous updates took place on 3 and 24 June, 14 July, 4 and 26 August.

The lists are updated “every three weeks”. The next review will happen on or around 16 September, with changes likely coming into effect at 4am the following Monday (20 September).

Amendments to the lists will be informed by public health advice, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the latest data.

“These regular review points will allow the government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries,” according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

What are the rules for green list countries?

Green list countries have the lightest restrictions for inbound travellers to the UK, with no quarantine imposed and just one PCR test required within two days of arrival, regardless of vaccination status.

All travellers must also show proof of a negative Covid test – PCR, rapid antigen or lateral flow – before departure to the UK.

What are the rules for amber list countries?

All unvaccinated adult arrivals from amber territories must quarantine for 10 days on entry to the UK and take three Covid tests in total: one pre-departure test and two post-arrival PCRs.

All travellers double-jabbed in the UK, US or EU and accompanying under-18s are able to swerve quarantine from amber territories and follow “green” rules instead: a pre-departure test, and a day two PCR.

All arrivals must be 14 days clear of their second jab to qualify for the quarantine exemption.

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Travel news – live: Latest green list updates as Jamaica predicted to go red, Turkey amber

Jamaica will likely move from the amber to the red list in this week’s review of the travel traffic light system, expected to be announced today or tomorrow.

Data analyst Tim White, who has been watching case figures closely in destinations across the world, tweeted:

“Jamaica‘s positive test rate today is 32.4%. Yesterday it was even higher at 49%, but always higher on Sundays with reduced levels of testing. It’s really difficult to make a case for Jamaica avoiding red now.”

Writing in a mega-thread of data analysis and traffic light predictions on Tuesday, White had better news for holidaymakers with their eye on Turkey.

Given Turkey’s “increased vaccination rates, safety measures in resorts and now genomic sequencing,” White said, his prediction was that Turkey would move to amber.

The UK’s travel ‘traffic light system’ is reviewed every three weeks, with the last update announced on 4 August, so an announcement on the next review is expected on either the 25 or 26 August.

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Ask Simon Calder your travel questions ahead of this week’s traffic light review

Join The Independent’s travel team for a live lunchtime event today, where they’ll be answering your burning holiday questions ahead of the government’s next update to the traffic light lists.

The next updates to the UK’s green, amber and red lists are expected to be announced tomorrow, 26 August.

Ahead of the changes, travel correspondent Simon Calder and travel editor Helen Coffey will be on hand for half an hour from 1pm today to whip through as many reader queries as possible.

To join, simply click the link below to book your place at the online Zoom event, taking place live at 1pm today, and feel free to submit your most pressing travel questions in advance.

We will also be covering the event live within our travel live blog so that you can keep up to speed easily by following the updates, and also submit any questions within the comments below the blog.

Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 08:52


Croatia, Iceland and Madeira could all be kicked off green list

Croatia, Iceland and Madeira are all at risk of a move from the green list to the amber list in this week’s review of travel rules.

Seven countries and territories have been identified as potential movers from green to amber by Covid and data expert Tim White, who yesterday published his predictions ahead of the next travel announcement.

The next review of the travel lists is expected to be announced later today or tomorrow.

Based on global Covid rates and available data, White forecast that Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Croatia, Iceland, Israel and Madeira are all at risk of moving off the green list.

“Iceland needs to be removed from the green list despite high testing and strict Covid-19 regime,” wrote White. “Rates are around 175/100k, but it too is not on the watchlist, so it may escape amber.”

Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 08:19


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s travel liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest updates throughout the day.

Lucy Thackray25 August 2021 08:01

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Travel news latest: Turkey expects to turn amber this week

Continuous lockdowns are “unsustainable”, the Australian prime minister said on Monday, marking a shift in policy away from the rigid lockdowns that have characterised the country’s Covid response, reports Giovanni Torre in Perth.

“That is our goal – to live with this virus, not to live in fear of it,” Scott Morrison told reporters.

His remarks came as Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand‘s prime minister, extended her country’s lockdown until the end of the week in response to 107 Covid cases.

With over half of all Australians stuck in weeks-long lockdowns to curb the highly infectious delta strain, Mr Morrison said the country had to move forward and start reducing restrictions as more people became vaccinated.

Read the full story here.

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Travel news latest: Turkey expects to turn amber this week

The US could maintain its ban on UK travellers until Thanksgiving on November 25, airlines fear, in a further blow to US-UK relations, reports. Charles Hymas.

A major airline is this week expected to postpone plans to launch scheduled services from London to New York in September until November amid concerns that there are no signs of any imminent lifting of the ban.

Another airline revealed it expected the ban to continue into the autumn, although it hoped that Joe Biden, the US president, could introduce exemptions for double-jabbed Britons. 

At present only Americans, their relatives and some very tightly defined exempt groups are allowed into the US.

Read the full story here.

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UK travel update this week could see countries on green, amber and red list change

The next travel announcement is due this week and travel experts expect changes including Croatia, Madeira, and a number of Caribbean islands

Aerial view of Long Bay beach and coral reef on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda
A number of Caribbean islands could be going on the amber and red lists

Croatia and Madeira could be taken off the green list and moved to amber this week. The government is expected to give an update on the green, amber and red lists, although it’s unlikely that there will be many additions to the quarantine-free options for Brits.

Currently England’s full green list includes 36 destinations, with 16 on the ‘green watchlist’ which means they are at a higher risk of being moved to the amber list. (We’ve included the rules for each category below).

Analysis by Paul Charles from travel consultancy The PC Agency has found that Croatia, Madeira and Israel could be at risk of going from green to amber. Meanwhile, a number of Caribbean islands such as Anguilla, Antigua and the Turks and Caicos Islands could also be moved to amber.

Croatia and Madeira could be a huge blow for Brits as they have been two of the green list destinations that are not only open to UK tourists, but are welcoming both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

Do you think the traffic light system works, or does it make things more confusing? Let us know in the comments below.

The quarantine-free green list is the most tempting option for UK holidaymakers, but the analysis suggests that it won’t be drastically expanding soon.

Poland, Bhutan, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Saudi Arabia could be tipped to go on the green list, as reported by the Telegraph.

As for countries that could be on the red list, rising numbers of coronavirus cases could see Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and Morocco added to the red list.

Croatia is one of the green list countries that could go amber


Lonely Planet Images)

The current traffic rules are:

  • Green list: No self-isolation or quarantine when you return to the UK, although you will need to take a PCR test on day two.
  • Amber list: You’ll need to self-isolate at home for 10 days, and take PCR tests on days two and eight. However, those who are fully vaccinated can swerve the self-isolation.
  • Red list: You’ll need to stay in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days. Holidaymakers need to fork out the cost themselves which is over £2,000.

For those with a Spain holiday booked, the good news is that the country could likely remain on the amber list.

Paul Charles explained on Twitter: “I’ve had many followers asking about #Spain – do not worry. It won’t be going red at the next review. Rates on every level are falling quite sharply, and the vaccination rollout is going strongly, with over 65% of the population fully-jabbed. August Bank Holiday is safe there.”

It’s expected that Spain will remain on the amber list


LightRocket via Getty Images)

Changes to the UK’s travel lists are announced roughly every three weeks, and it’s expected that the newest update could be revealed on Wednesday or Thursday, ahead of the August bank holiday weekend.

The last series of changes saw Austria, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia added to the green list, while Bahrain, India, Qatar and the UAE were moved to the amber list.

However it’s worth noting that just because the UK government says you can visit a country doesn’t mean you can automatically go on holiday.

Only a handful of countries are actually open to Brits currently due to the ongoing pandemic – but there are some holiday options at the time of writing.

For example, Austria, Gibraltar, Latvia and Slovenia are some of the countries that could remain on the green list, and they welcome both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.

Meanwhile Anguilla, Germany, Iceland, Malta and Slovakia are all also on the current green list, although they are only open to those who are fully vaccinated against Covid.

Some countries haven’t yet reopened their borders fully to holidaymakers, although they are beginning to lay out their plans for welcoming back tourists.

St Lucia could be moved to the red list according to the analysis


Getty Images/age fotostock RM)

For example, Thailand has begun a phased approach for the return of tourists.

Back in July popular holiday spot Phuket reopened to vaccinated tourists, with plans to potentially reopen the whole country in October to those who are double jabbed.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) confirmed that double jabbed travellers can head to the island without needing to quarantine as part of the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ project. Non-vaccinated travellers will still be required to quarantine for 14 nights in a quarantine hotel.

However, in some cases travel is unlikely to resume until next year. For example, New Zealand and Australia have both announced plans to welcome back tourists from 2022, depending on their own vaccine rollouts and the global Covid situation.

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Travel news live: Latest updates as Maldives looks set to join amber list

Morocco is at risk of going red while Spain and Greece will stay amber in the next traffic light travel review, a Covid data expert has predicted.

Journalist and data specialist Tim White made his predictions about the next green, amber and red list moves in a detailed thread on Twitter.

His Morocco predictions come after an “eyewatering” 6 per cent of travellers arriving from the North African country tested positive.

Holiday favourite the Maldives has a strong case for being moved to the amber list, White believes, following a drop in cases.

“Spain, Greece and their islands shouldn’t be going red,” tweeted White. He noted that Greece has seen a 9 per cent drop in cases since last week, while in Spain, infections have dropped by 29 per cent.

White also predicted that a huge surge in cases in Mexico would keep the country on the red list.

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Join The Independent’s travel team live next Wednesday

Ahead of the next travel traffic light announcement, get up-to-date with what it all means for your holiday by joining The Independent’s travel correspondent, Simon Calder, and travel editor, Helen Coffey, at a live virtual event.

This lunchtime Q&A will be short and sweet – our experts have just 30 minutes to try to answer as many of your most pressing travel queries as possible.

Click below to find out more and sign up to our lunchtime event on Wednesday 25 August at 1pm:

Helen Coffey20 August 2021 10:09


LNER launches rail sale

LNER has launched a seat sale with thousands of train tickets available from £5.

The rail operator is making 200,000 cut-price fares available for travel between 6 September and 15 October 2021 on routes connecting Scotland, North East England, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London.

Helen Coffey20 August 2021 09:33


Travel news – live:

Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s liveblog, where we’ll be posting all the latest travel updates.

Lucy Thackray20 August 2021 08:56

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