Why is Turkey still on the red list? What kept it from turning amber, and what could change in the next travel update
Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps has not made any mention of the favorite holiday in Revising the traffic light every three weeksthat moved Only 10 destinations in new categories of green, amber or red Depending on the severity of the Covid risk.
with covid rates Relatively low in TurkeyWhile there are no worrying new variables and high test rates, there has been some confusion as to why British holidaymakers continue to be banned from visiting.
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The answer appears to lie in the nation’s standing as a global transportation hub.
Before the pandemic, Turkish Airlines flew to more destinations than any other airline in the world, connecting everywhere from Los Angeles in the west to Tokyo in the east. While its main base, Istanbul Airport has continued to operate a large number of flights during the pandemic, becoming Europe’s busiest airport in 2020.
Turkey and Dubai were originally moved to the red list in May due to concerns that both destinations, as travel hubs, may be at risk of spreading the emerging delta variant.
Although the delta variant now accounts for more than 95 per cent of Covid infections in the UK, the government appears cautious about opening up to Turkey due to its excellent transport links for passengers from around the world.
Robert Boyle, the former head of strategy for British Airways, who claims to have hacked the algorithm the government uses to make its traffic light decisions, successfully predicted that Turkey would remain on the red list despite the fact that it technically “doesn’t belong there”.
Waiting for the next barrier
He grouped Turkey with 10 other countries including Qatar, Sri Lanka and Kenya, which he says can only be left on the red list due to the high rates of the delta variable.
Robert believes Turkey’s best bet to escape the red list is the government’s next “checkpoint” to review how the current system for managing international travel works, which the government has committed to keeping in place no later than July 31.
The review should take into account everything from the state of the vaccine rollout in the UK to the impact of restrictions on the travel industry.
If the delta variable rate is still used as an important metric in government equations, this may be the moment when it is removed.
This would pave the way for Turkey to move to the amber list in the upcoming traffic light review scheduled for Thursday, August 5.