Hols to Turkey and Maldives could be back on with travel red list set to be cut by half

17 September 2021, 06:34 | Updated: 17 September 2021, 17:49

Half term holidays to Turkey could be on the cards
Half term holidays to Turkey could be on the cards. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Turkey and the Maldives could be two destinations that will open up in time for half-term breaks as Covid-19 travel rules are completely overhauled.

Major changes to the rules are expected to come very soon, possibly today, with travelling set to be made cheaper and more straightforward for doubled-jabbed holidaymakers.

Dozens of countries including Turkey are expected to be taken off the red list in time for next month’s half-term.

The red list, which at present prohibits travel to 62 countries, could be halved.

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Other destinations that could open up include the Maldives and South Africa. Red list countries require people to pay £2,285 to go into a hotel for 11 nights upon return.

In other changes due to be announced by the transport secretary, the green and amber lists are expected to be merged to form one category of low-risk countries.

There is also speculation that fully vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a pre-departure lateral flow test or a post-arrival PCR test. This would save travellers around £100 per trip.

However, those who have not been jabbed could face tougher restrictions.

Currently, travellers who have not had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine must take one PCR test and are not required to self-isolate after arriving from a green list destination.

According to reports, they could be required to quarantine at home and be required to take two tests when arriving from a low-risk location under the new system.

The changes would come into force ahead of the October half-term break.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps' expected announcement on Friday will only apply to England, but recently the devolved administrations have implemented rule changes for travel announced in Westminster.

It is anticipated that people arriving from red list countries will continue to be required to spend 11 nights in a quarantine hotel, at a cost of £2,285 for solo travellers.

There are currently 62 countries on that list but this is expected to be reduced.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said earlier this week that 24 countries "should be taken off", including Pakistan, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Chile.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Our top priority is to protect public health - decisions on our traffic light system are kept under regular review and are informed by the latest risk assessment from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and wider public health factors."

The travel sector has been desperate for the testing and quarantine rules for international travel to be relaxed.

Heathrow said this week it has gone from being Europe's busiest airport in 2019 to number 10 on the list, behind rivals in cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.

Speculation that travel restrictions might soon be overhauled sent shares in airlines soaring.