The government announced yesterday that Turkey remains on the red list. Turkey was placed on the red list on 12 May and this will continue until the next assessment on 15 July.
Turkey was on the red list due to increasing cases. Despite the acceleration of vaccination studies, at least it was not on the yellow list in this evaluation. Besides the high number of Covid-19 cases, it seems that the main reason is Istanbul Airport. Istanbul Airport, which started its operations at the beginning of 2020, is a frequently used transfer center for flights from Asian and African countries. The United Kingdom, which has almost completed the vaccination throughout the country, continues to keep Turkey on the red list in order to keep the arrivals from Asian countries, hence the Indian variant, in order to maintain the effectiveness of the vaccination.
The UK, which has nearly completed vaccination across the country, wants to maintain the effectiveness of the vaccination and maintain the spread for a healthy transition to full opening. To this end, the transition to stage 4 for full opening was postponed to 17 July.
Tourism activities, which lead to the most important traffic between Turkey and England for the summer period, are interrupted due to the obligation to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days on the way back. England is one of the three most important countries for Turkish tourism. Tourist airline companies announced last month that they had stopped their flights to Turkey until August. Turkey is expected to be put on the yellow list in August. However, after this uncertainty, it is clear that the change to be announced in August will be a late date for holiday plans. It is understood that the coinciding of the opening timing of Istanbul Airport with the coronavirus period was a factor in the turn of the process to its disadvantage.
The Government has responded to negative the petition of “Remove Turkey from the red list”
On the other hand, the petitions of people of Turkish origin living in England, requesting that Turkey be removed from the red list, for going abroad during the summer, were rejected. The Government, which rejected the application as a result of the application examined by the Petitions Commission in the Parliament; “The decision to impose additional measures on Turkey was taken to prevent the importation of variants of concern and to protect the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme at a critical time” he said.
According to the government’s statement, Turkey was placed on the red list on 12 May to help prevent the importation of variants of concern and to protect the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme at a critical time.
The government took decisive action to place Turkey on the “Red List” of high-risk countries on 12 May. International visitors will be denied entry to England while British, Irish and third country nationals with residence rights who have departed from or transited through Turkey in the 10 days prior to their arrival in England will be required to quarantine in a government approved facility for 10 days.
The decision to impose additional measures on Turkey was taken to prevent the importation of variants of concern and to protect the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme at a critical time. These are temporary measures that are kept under constant review and the government maintains that they will only be kept in place whilst the level of risk justifies the measures.
The traffic light system
The government had introduced the traffic light system to provide a framework for a safe and sustainable return to international travel on 17 May. The traffic light system categorizes countries based on risk to protect public health and the vaccine rollout from variants of COVID-19. The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) produces risk assessments of countries and territories.
In statement said; “Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account the JBC risk assessments, alongside wider public health factors. As with all our coronavirus measures, we keep the Red List under constant review and our priority remains to protect the health of the UK public.”
Key factors in the JBC risk assessment of each country include; genomic surveillance capability, COVID-19 transmission risk, Variant of Concern transmission risk.