Travelers to Egypt and Bahrain scramble to avoid UK hotel quarantine

Travelers to Egypt and Bahrain are rushing back to Britain to avoid hotel quarantine after the two countries were added to the UK’s red list.

From 4 a.m. on Tuesday, anyone coming from Egypt or Bahrain, as well as five other countries – Afghanistan, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago – will have to pay £ 1,750 (2,471 $) to quarantine in a government – approved hotel for 10 days.

The decision was announced at the same time as Portugal’s removal from the Green List to the Amber List.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the measures followed growing concerns over imported cases of the coronavirus.

Soliman Travel, which has provided Egyptian travel services to the UK for 40 years, said airlines were adding more seats as people rushed back to the UK before the deadline.

“Within minutes they all appear to have been sold,” a spokesperson said. The National.

“There are a lot of people out there now trying to change their tickets. Everyone is disappointed but that’s how it is.

He said “morale is very low” in the travel industry after the UK tightened travel restrictions just weeks after the ban on international travel was lifted.

“As a business, you are struggling to survive. It is the last nail in the coffin of Egyptian specialists, ”he declared.

Egypt was previously on the orange list, which means travelers are required to stay at home for 10 days and pass several Covid-19 tests upon their return.

Hafsa Halawa, who is among those trying to return to the UK from Egypt, said she was angry with Mr Shapps’ decision.

“You effectively left me stranded in Cairo,” she said on Twitter.

“Worse still, my father, who has to travel in July for medical reasons, is also now stranded. “

Emma Dawes said she was in a “frantic rush” to return to the UK.

“A frantic race to book return flights with rising costs and the demands of a PCR adding a whole new layer of complexity,” she said on Twitter.

Humayun Ahmed, a UK-based teacher, also complained on Twitter about the difficulty of returning to Britain.

According to Skyscanner, a one-way flight between Cairo and London with EgyptAir on Saturday costs £ 532. The price for the same flight drops to £ 370 on Wednesday, after the redlist change goes into effect.

A one-way flight between Bahrain and London with GulfAir on Saturday costs £ 637, falling to £ 356 on Wednesday.

Skyscanner chief commercial officer Gavin Harris said prices were likely even lower than before the pandemic.

“What happens is there is a short period of time for prices to adjust to new demand levels and then they usually go back to where they were before the announcement,” a- he declared.

“Right now, prices are generally very low compared to the last ‘normal’ year for travel which was 2019, so any temporary price increases are likely to be even cheaper. What we expect to see is that travel providers will shift their capacity to serve more popular routes in order to compete for bookings with consistently low prices.

Bahrain’s embassy in London promoted the country’s vaccination campaign and testing capacity just days before the redlist decision.

UK authorities have said the decision to put countries on the red list was based on a combination of testing capacity, risk of Covid-19 variants and vaccine distribution.

Mr Shapps said the UK was taking a ‘safety first’ approach to protect the UK’s vaccination campaign.

“The public has always known that travel would be different this year and we must continue to take a cautious approach to reopen international travel in a way that protects public health and vaccine deployment,” he said.

“As we make great strides in the UK with the vaccine rollout, we continue to say that the public should not travel to destinations outside the green list.”

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