India has been placed on England’s red travel list. The news comes as the country sees a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. As a result, direct flights between England and India will be banned, and all arrivals from the country will need to quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
Like most of Europe, the United Kingdom saw a large wave of COVID-19 cases at the end of 2020. However, thanks to an expedited vaccine rollout tied with an intense lockdown, cases have fallen in the nation to the point where the seven-day incidence is now below 30. Understandably, the UK wants to keep it this way.
India goes on the red list
India has become the latest country to join England’s red travel list. According to the BBC, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the travel ban would come into effect at 04:00 BST on Friday, April 23rd.
According to the publication, the government is currently investigating whether the Indian variant of COVID-19 should be a cause for concern. Regardless, there has been a spike in cases in India. Yesterday 273,802 new COVID-19 cases were registered in the country. Talking to the House of Commons, Hancock commented,
“Between our two countries we have ties of friendship and family and I understand the impact of this decision, but I hope that the House will concur that we must act because we must protect the progress that we have made in this country.”
What does this mean for travelers?
The change means that those traveling to England from India will find the journey more difficult and expensive. Carriers such as British Airways and Air India will be forced to cease direct flights to England from India. As a result, many traveling on the route will have to go via a transit stop. An example could be Delhi to Frankfurt to London with Lufthansa.
However, once they arrive in the England, things don’t get any better. Passengers will have to pay £1,750 ($2,448) for the first adult staying ten nights in a government-sanctioned hotel. An additional adult will cost an extra £650 ($909), while a child aged 5-12 costs £325 ($455). If a positive COVID-19 infection is spotted, necessitating a longer stay in quarantine, the rates will be £152 ($213), £41 ($57), and £12 ($17) respectively for each additional day.
Passengers found to be lying about the countries they’ve traveled through in the past ten days to avoid the managed quarantine scheme will face severe punishments. These individuals could be fined up to £10,000 ($14,000) and could face a prison sentence of up to ten years.
Will there be a rush of flights?
As mentioned, the rules won’t come into effect for another three and a half days. This gives ample time for passengers to try and enter the country before the ten-day hotel quarantine becomes mandatory. It wouldn’t be a massive surprise if airlines up their flights and offer charter flights from India to the UK in the coming days.
Indeed, in the days leading up to Pakistan’s addition to the red list, all sorts of carriers were operating such flights. Icelandair even got in on the action with a couple of Boeing 767 flights from Islamabad to Manchester.
What do you make of India’s addition to England’s red list? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below.