Will turkey go on the amber list? Covid cases explained, and could it move from red list in next travel update

Turkey has been on the UK’s travel red list since May due to the high prevalence of Covid-19 in the country

More changes to the UK travel list will be made this week after the government announces the latest update.

The travel lists are reviewed every three weeks, with decisions on which countries are categorised as green, amber or red based on public health advice and the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s assessment of the most recent Covid-19 data.

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Several countries were added to the green list following the last update at the beginning of the month, meaning holidaymakers can now travel to the likes of Austria, Norway and Romania without having to quarantine on their return.

Many popular holiday destinations are currently on the amber list, such as Spain, Greece, France and Italy, providing sun-starved tourists with plenty of options to visit over the summer.

However, Turkey, which is a much-loved haunt among British tourists, is still a notable absence on the list, with the high number of coronavirus cases in the country meaning it is currently categorised as red.

But could its status change following the next review? Here’s everything we know so far.

Will Turkey be added to the amber list?

Turkey expects to be removed from the UK’s travel red list after the update this week, according to the country’s embassy in London.

It has been on the red list since May due to the high prevalence of coronavirus, but case numbers have started to drop and are now lower than here in the UK.

In a statement, the embassy told Sky News: “The scientific data on Covid-19 support our expectation that Turkey will be removed from the red list at the upcoming review.”

Just 1.7 per cent of arrivals in the UK from Turkey have tested positive for coronavirus in the last three weeks, according to NHS Test and Trace data.

This figure is down from three per cent in March and April and is now a similar figure to that of Spain which already has amber list status.

It also argues that it has improved its genomic sequencing and is continuing to progress with its vaccination programme, which has seen more than half of all adults in Turkey receive two doses.

The embassy said it expects these facts to be taken into account and remove the country from the red list this week.

Its red list status means that British and Irish nationals, along with those who have residence rights in the UK, must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 11 days on their return at a cost of more than £2,000.

Travel expert Paul Charles, from the PC Agency travel consultancy, tweeted that it is “encouraging” to see the country supplying substantial data to GISAID about coronavirus infections and variants, and it “very much deserves” to be awarded amber status.

Mr Charles said: “Turkey very much deserves to be on the amber list as it has some of the best COVID safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas, and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.

“Many agree it feels safer there than it does in the UK.”

When is the next travel update?

The travel reviews are scheduled to take place every three weeks, with the last update having taken place on Wednesday 4 August. The changes from the latest review came into effect from 4am on 8 August.

The next review of travel restrictions is expected to come on either Wednesday 25 or Thursday 26 August.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that there would be no update before this time, meaning people can go on holiday “without looking over their shoulders the whole time”.

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