India makes it to UK’s ‘red list’ for COVID-19 travel; find out what it means

UK’s ‘red list’ for COVID-19 travel

As COVID-19 cases soar in the country, as part of the second-wave of infection, India has made it to the radar of other countries for a place that mustn’t be visited at the moment. It has been understood that the UK, as of now, has added India to the ‘red list’ for COVID-19 travel. What does it mean, and what should travellers know about moving between these two countries? We answer some of your FAQs here; read on.

What is a ‘red list’?

Red list is essentially a travel-ban list. It discourages travel to and from certain banned countries. According to, besides India, there are 39 other countries on this list, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar, South Africa, the UAE and Zimbabwe, among others.

India’s addition

India is the latest country to be added to the list. The mandate is that if you arrive in the UK from India before 4 am on April 23, you must self-isolate for 10 days in the place you’re staying and take a COVID-19 test on days 2 and 8.

Additionally, the website states that from 4 am on April 23, if you have been in India in the previous 10 days, you will only be allowed to enter the UK if you are a British, Irish or third-country national with residency rights. You will need to quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.

Which flights are travelling to the UK as of now?

A Mirror report states that UK flight tickets from India have rocketed from £400 for an economy seat to £2,000, since families have started to rush, in order to avoid the travel ban.

While at present, there are a few flights from India — from cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad — to the UK, every day, after India’s India’s addition to the ‘red list’, the number of direct flights may drop. Airlines operating flights are: British Airways, Vistara and Air India, news reports suggest.

Why did India make it to the red list?

According to a BBC report, UK health secretary Matt Hancock stated that there had been “103 UK cases of the India variant”. He said the vast majority of the cases of the new variant — officially known as B.1.617 — had been linked to “international travel”, and added test samples had been “analysed to see if the new variant had any concerning characteristics”, such as greater transmissibility or resistance to treatments and vaccines.

“After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list,” he said.

The UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also tweeted the move was made to ensure the UK did not lose its “hard-won progress on the vaccine rollout”.

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