Britain’s long-haul travel industry has suffered another blow with the addition of four more countries to the so-called coronavirus “red list” of high-risk countries.
The third big Gulf air hub, Qatar, has been added to the list – meaning thousands of travellers face 11 nights of hotel quarantine at a price of £1,750 for a solo passenger returning to the UK.
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that Qatar, as well as Ethiopia, Oman and Somalia, would be added to the red list at 4am on Friday 19 March – giving arrivals 82 hours’ warning and allowing many of them to come home early.
The DfT said the move was in response to “new data showing an increased risk of importation of variants of concern”.
There is likely to be an immediate rush to return from the Gulf state. The addition of Doha will affect many travellers from Asia, Africa and Australia who have plans to transit the airport. Even spending an hour or two in transit will trigger hotel quarantine. Those passengers are also likely to seek earlier departure dates to beat the deadline.