Now solidly a year into the pandemic, few people confidently predicted that the fallout from the virus would be quite as dramatic as what we have seen around the world. Despite the Covid-19 situation in the United States improving over the past few days, with the 7 day rolling average of positives cases well below 100,000, the country could still find itself on the UK’s red list of countries within the next week.
Here’s more information on what exactly that means, and why US travelers might soon be facing these restrictions.
UK’s Red List – A Re-cap For Travelers
The “Red List” is a collection of countries whose Covid-19 situation requires travelers who have visited those countries to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine upon their return to the UK. The current group of red list countries is as follows:
Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Those who have visited these countries can only stay in a government-approved quarantine facility, for a period of 10 days. During the stay, they will be tested twice for Covid-19. Stays in hotel quarantine facilities have been deemed expensive, with stays costing £1,750 for a solo traveler. Those who try to deceive officials in order to try and avoid staying in a quarantine hotel can face a fine of up to £10,000.
The new quarantine system has been widely criticized, with technical errors and transportation risks highlighted by those who have had to go through the system. Guests have labeled the facilities as like a prison, whilst also raising concerns that staff at the hotels do not always wear masks.
US and Spain To Join The List?
According to British broadsheet newspaper The Telegraph, health officials from the Department for Transport (DfT) have been considering adding both the US and Spain to the list of red list countries, meaning those flying from the US and Spain would be subjected to the pricey quarantine regulations.
The DfT health officials are currently analyzing data from the two countries regarding the risk posed by Covid-19 variants. Both countries have reported cases of the variants, whilst they are also close in proximity to the places where the strains originated from – South America and Portugal. Both of these locations have already been added to the UK’s red list.
Both the US and Spain represent huge of the biggest travel markets with the UK. Even now, in the height of the pandemic, there are still an estimated 1,000 daily arrivals from the US and 500 from Spain. At present, arrivals from these nations only have to quarantine at home, avoiding the £1,750 hotel quarantine costs for the time being.
Sources from the British government have said that the red list is expected to get longer before it gets shorter, so the chances of both the US and Spain being added to the red list remain high. There are currently 4,963 rooms set aside for quarantining new arrivals, with the possibility to expand this to 58,000 if required.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com