Thailand Officially Moved to England’s Travel Red List

British nationals who return to England from Thailand will be required to quarantine in a hotel from Monday onwards, as the Asian country has been added to the travel ‘red list’. Montenegro also joined the list on Thursday.

Hotels for the mandatory 10-day quarantine must be approved by the UK government and come at the traveler’s own expense.

The traffic light system identifies countries as either green, amber or red, with different rules applying for each of the classifications.

Any updates from the UK government only affect England but the three devolved governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales usually decide to do the same.

A government statement on Thursday said that by making any additions to their list, it was an indication of “the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health.”

The spokesman for the transport department went on to say that “the higher rates in Thailand and Montenegro than other countries mean that an outbreak of a new variant or existing variants of concern or variants under investigation cannot be easily identified before they are imported to the UK.”

UK transport secretary, Grant Shapps, explained that the listings were part of the government’s plans to “further cautiously ease international travel”.

British and Irish nationals are the only citizens that will be able to travel directly into England from Monday.

If a citizen of another nation wants to visit from a red list country such as Thailand, they will now need to stay in an amber list country for at least 10 days before their trip to the UK. They will not have to quarantine when they do eventually arrive on British soil.

The amber list was not changed by the UK government on Thursday. The rules for amber states that those arriving back to the UK should quarantine at home unless they are fully vaccinated.

Travel industry members had hoped that more countries would be switched from amber to green, with Canada, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Switzerland and Portugal’s Azores islands moving to the ‘green list’ from 4am on August 30.

Passengers returning from these destinations will no longer need to quarantine. But they will still be required to take a PCR Covid test prior to departure and again two days after returning to England.

Travel agents spoke of their disappointment that Turkey, a best-selling holiday destination, remained as red and not changed to amber.

Moving Turkey’s status from the red list to amber would have amounted to a “big win” for the industry, said the online tour operator Thomas Cook’s CEO Alan French.

He revealed that, since the government chose to lower the requirements for travelers returning from amber countries last month, bookings were “certainly going in the right direction”.

Irene Hays, the chairwoman of Hays Travel, with more than 400 travel agents across the UK, said that the government were “confusing people and I think they should speak with some clarity”.

She announced that sales at Hays went up by close to 200 per cent this month compared to July with 49 per cent of bookings for 2021 and the remainder for next year.