Travel news latest: Red list of countries could grow with Kenya ‘highly likely’ to be added

A conspicuously clear window on the map of sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya could soon be joining the UK Government’s “red list”of countries demanding mandatory hotel quarantine for all UK arrivals. A source working for the British High Commission in Kenya has revealed the East African nation is highly likely to be added from March 29.

The decision would deliver yet another devastating blow to tourism not only in Kenya but across the continent. With South Africa, Ethiopia, Qatar and UAE already on the red list, Nairobi was the last major hub for connecting flights into the UK.

“Kenya has been a bastion of hope for African tourism this year,” said Jarrod Kyte, Product and Sales Director for tour operator Steppes Travel.

“This would effectively shut down travel from the UK to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, a region that relies on tourism to provide jobs and opportunities for its people, while also providing the economic framework around which its wildlife can survive.”

For weeks, red list rumours have been circulating Nairobi; a refusal to close borders with neighbouring Tanzania, which has not published coronavirus statistics since May 2020, was touted as a key factor. 

Scroll down for the latest travel updates.

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German Covid cases rise to two-month high

Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by the most in two months, just days before Chancellor Angela Merkel decides on how to proceed with the country’s lockdown restrictions.

The number of new cases reached by 28,489 in the 24 hours through Friday morning, the most since January 21, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The country’s seven-day incidence rate per 100,000 people climbed to 95.6, the highest in more than a month and close to the level that triggers an “emergency brake” at which regional restrictions need to be reimposed.

Ms Merkel and regional leaders are due to meet Monday to decide on the next steps in the fight against the pandemic. Germany’s remaining lockdown restrictions expire on March 28.

50 towns and cities set to lose £18bn as quarantine slashes tourism

Fifty towns and cities are set to lose £18 billion this year because of the quarantine restrictions on travel, a new study shows.

 Piccadilly Circus

An empty Piccadilly Circus during the third lockdown

Credit:
Getty

The research, based on Visit Britain and Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, shows London will lose £12 billion due to the collapse in international visitors with the remaining 49 losing £6 billion.  

Projections produced by Visit Britain show that the number of international visitors is expected to fall overall by 71 per cent with European tourists expected to be only 34 per cent and non-European tourists expected to be just 18 per cent of 2019 levels. This will see the amount spent by international visitors fall by 77 per cent.    

While London bears the brunt, other big cities including Edinburgh and Manchester will lose more than £500 million. The figures are:  Edinburgh set to lose £917 million; Manchester £551 million; Birmingham £280 million Glasgow; £293 million; Newcastle £170m; Cardiff £160m .

Read the full story.

The factors behind whether overseas holidays will return on May 17

Four countries were added to England’s travel ban list from 4am on Friday, while two were removed. The number has increased from 33 to 35. 

However, foreign holidays could be permitted as early as May 17. We are now only just over three weeks away from April 12 – the date when the Government’s Travel Taskforce is due to report to the Prime Minister. Nick Trend has taken a closer look at the hurdles facing the restart of travel, including: 

The prevalence and location of any ‘variants of concern’

There are some reasons to be cheerful on this score. This week Portugal was removed from the Government’s red list (requiring compulsory hotel quarantine for passengers arriving in the UK) because the risk – in particular – of a Brazilian variant being imported from that country “has reduced”. The bad news is that Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar were added to the list, though these countries are obviously not major tourist destinations. 

Verdict: Looking up

Read the full story.

Prof. Ferguson: ‘Important decisions’ to be made on foreign travel

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said there needed to be important decisions made on how the UK can trade with France as the country faces a third lockdown. He said it was important to keep the South African variant out of the UK: some countries, including France, are seeing the variant in 5 to 10 per cent of its cases.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “I think there are important decisions coming up, and it’s always a balancing act. How much we relax the current ban on international travel except for essential services.

“As a lot of essential travel between ourselves and France for business, commerce and trade, how can we reduce the risks associated with that travel. Those are policy decisions, I’m just raising the issue that we are doing so well with the vaccination campaign, we are driving down deaths at a faster rate than I ever thought was possible and that will allow us to open up.”

When asked whether he thought France should be added to the red list, he said: “I don’t think that’s necessarily a practical issue given the amount of trade.”

France plans lockdown in Paris area

France is locking down the Paris area as it suffers to contain a third wave of the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced.

In a bid to contain the resurgence in cases, only essential businesses and schools will stay open, he said on Thursday.

The measures will start from midnight on Friday and will remain in place for four weeks.

paris

Parisians walk the Seine as their city readies for another lockdown

Credit:
Getty

The 35 countries on the travel red list

The UK Government has updated its ‘red list’ of countries, bringing the total number of banned nations to 35.

Four countries – Oman, Qatar, Somalia and Ethiopia – were added to the red list from 4am on Friday, while Portugal and Mauritius were removed. Under current restrictions, direct flights from the red-listed nations are banned: Britons currently in these countries must fly home via a third nation. 

Hotel quarantine rules apply to all British citizens who have been in or transited through red list countries in the previous 10 days. Any non-Britons who have been in a red list country within the past 10 days will simply be denied entry to the country.

  1. Angola
  2. Argentina
  3. Bolivia
  4. Botswana
  5. Brazil
  6. Burundi
  7. Cape Verde
  8. Chile
  9. Colombia
  10. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  11. Ecuador
  12. Eswatini
  13. Ethiopia
  14. French Guiana
  15. Guyana
  16. Lesotho
  17. Malawi
  18. Mozambique
  19. Namibia
  20. Oman
  21. Panama
  22. Paraguay
  23. Peru
  24. Qatar
  25. Rwanda
  26. Seychelles
  27. Somalia
  28. South Africa
  29. Suriname
  30. Tanzania
  31. United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  32. Uruguay
  33. Venezuela
  34. Zambia
  35. Zimbabwe

Without tourism, conservation will become an ‘inconvenience’ in countries like Kenya

The roll-out of vaccines across Europe had led many to believe safari tourism could gradually resume this summer, reports Sarah Marshall

By painting Africa red with their clumsy broad-brush policies, the UK government will dash those dreams, causing great harm in the long term.

“Without tourism, people in countries like Kenya will be left with no choice but to rely on more extractive industries such as logging, industrial farming and the bushmeat trade,” warns Jarrod Kyte of tour operator Steppes Travel.

“Conservation will soon become an inconvenience and local people’s tolerance for wildlife will quickly diminish if it is seen as a barrier to wealth rather than a means by which to earn a living,” he adds.

There are currently 35 countries on the red list of countries from which direct flights to the UK are banned and from which arriving Britons are subject to a stay in a quarantine hotel. 

‘Hapless’ Government ‘inventing damaging’ policies, says safari camp boss

Kenya’s potential addition to the UK’s travel red list has most people baffled, reports Sarah Marshall.

Although Covid cases have risen slightly in the country, figures are minimal compared to Europe, and the death count is still low: 12 people died from the virus on March 17.

Although the South African variant has been detected, it poses no more threat than in countries such as Austria and Belgium which remain off the UK red list.

Paul Goldstein, co-owner of the Kicheche safari camps, said:

Kenya has lost 1937 people from Covid to date; the UK has had more deaths in a single day.

This hapless, desperate government invent these deeply damaging hawkish policies to distract from their appalling mismanagement of coronavirus.

This is not fair on Kenya, tourists and indeed wildlife, and the perpetrator of this plan – one not based on science, medicine, maths or geography – will have blood on their hands.

What happened yesterday?

The main headlines from Thursday:

  • Britons front of the queue for Greek holidays
  • Lockdown roadmap won’t be delayed amid vaccine shortage, says minister
  • Eurostar weeks away from collapse without bailout, warns SNCF boss
  • Bali could reopen to foreign tourists in June
  • Etihad latest to retire Airbus A380 forever
  • Holidays in Croatia on the cards
  • Portugal to welcome British holidaymakers from mid-May
  • Thousands of Heathrow workers to strike in April
  • Singapore Airlines to offer pre-departure testing for UK passengers

Now onto today’s news.