The return of the “Red List”

By | Category: Travel news

Yesterday evening, the UK government announced that all four nations would reintroduce the red list for six countries – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe – because of the discovery of a new strain of COVID.
The discovery was made just three days ago so responses have been fast.

From midday non-UK and Irish residents will be banned from entering England if they have been in the six countries in the past 10 days. And then, from Sunday, any British or Irish resident arriving from those countries will have to quarantine in a hotel at their expense. Those returning in the gap between will isolate at home.

This morning, Israel and Singapore also banned flights and now the EU president has called on EU nations to follow suit. Sinagore also incuded Mozambique in its list of banned flights

The reason for this quick response is a new variant known at the moment as B.1.1.529, (no Greek letter has been alloted yet) is the concern that the new variant might be more transmissable and that it has a greater number of mutations that any previous variants.

It seems that it will take a couple of weeks for a greater understanding of the variant to be known. In the interveening period, the travel industry – and governments – will be hoping that existing vaccines will ba able to mitigate the effects of the new variant.

The news has spooked governments, stock exchanges and the travel industry.

The speed with which governments and stock exchanges reacted suggests the level of concern is high.
What the travel industry doesn’t want are new restrictions because potential travellers may pull back on any plans they have.

Yet although two cases have been found in Hong Kong, there is no ban on flights from and to there. Why?

I leave that for speculators.

Update: 27 November 2021 – Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia have been added to the list as two cases of the new variant have been found in the UK. The new variant has been given the name, Omicron.

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