Bad News For Connecting Passengers – Qatar Banned From England

Effective from 04:00 Friday, March 19th, England is adding several countries to its ‘red list’ in a move that it says will protect its vaccination program “against variants of concern.” Along with Ethiopia, Oman, and Somalia, the country of Qatar will now face increased travel restrictions. The addition of Qatar to the list is particularly inconvenient for international travelers headed to London and Manchester since Qatar Airways has been an airline providing vital long-distance connections while other airlines suspend routes.

Qatar A350
Qatar Airways has been a key airline providing reliable service for stranded passengers needing repatriation. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

What does it mean to be on England’s red list?

With the UK’s latest red list update, what does it mean for a country to be in this category? According to the English government site, this means that British, Irish, and third-country nationals with residence rights (including long-term visa holders) arriving from red-list countries will be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel quarantine facility for 10 days.

This move “follows new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern,” the government notes.

Bad News For Connecting Passengers – Qatar Banned From England
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to members of the public waiting to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as he tours a vaccination center on March 12th, 2021. Photo: Getty Images

The government’s statement continues by saying:

“With over 24 million vaccinations delivered in the UK so far, the move will help to reduce the risk of new variants – such as those first identified in South Africa and Brazil – entering England.”

Therefore, as of 04:00 on Friday, March 19th, visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. Only British and Irish citizens, or those with residence rights (including long-term visa holders), will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on the 2nd and 8th day.

Bad News For Connecting Passengers – Qatar Banned From England
Anyone transiting through Doha is also subject to England’s red list travel conditions. However, Scotland does not (yet) have Qatar on its “acute risk countries” list. Photo:

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What about other parts of the UK?

Due to the division of government jurisdictions, other countries that are part of the UK have their own lists and restrictions. Therefore it appears that, at the time of publishing this article, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland do not have a similar restriction on Qatar. Scotland is of particular interest as it is the only other destination to which Qatar Airways currently operates a direct service from Doha- flying to the capital city of Edinburgh.

Scotland’s list was last updated on March 1st, meaning that there is a chance it could follow England’s move and add Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia, and Qatar to its own list of “acute risk countries.” In general, the countries of the UK have had quite similar travel restrictions.

Those flying direct from Doha to Edinburgh would still face a number of requirements, however. Travelers must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test, which must be taken three days before they start the journey to Scotland.

Are you affected by this new update to England’s red list? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.