The British government has today announced that Turkey is being added to its list of red category countries.
The change in status, which will take effect from 4am on Wednesday 12 May, means entry into the UK is restricted to British or Irish nationals, and those with residence rights in the UK.
Last week, Turkey went into full lockdown due to record number of new coronavirus cases, with both the Kent and Indian variations of the virus detected. The country currently has the highest number of Covid infections in Europe, prompting the British authorities to act.
From next Wednesday, Turkey will be joining 42 other countries, including India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UAE, Qatar, and Kenya, on Britain’s red list.
Those eligible to travel must have a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours before travel and complete a Passenger Locator Form.
Alongside restricted access into the UK, those travelling from or through Turkey must also stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for ten days, which they must book and pay for in advance of their arrival.
The compulsory 11-night stay in a British quarantine hotel costs an eye-watering £1,750 for the first adult. Each additional adult or child aged over 11 pays £650, while the rate for children aged between 5 and 11 is reduced to £325. Those under five go free.
The development will also impact people travelling to Britain from the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC). Due to the Greek Cypriot-imposed embargoes, all flights from Ercan Airport to Britain are re-routed via Turkey, where passengers are forced to disembark the plane, go through a fresh security check and board a new flight. As a result they too will come under the ban.
Many travellers from the TRNC had previously sought to avoid the hassle of Turkish touch-down by flying from an airport in South Cyprus. However, the Greek Cypriot authorities have used the coronavirus pandemic to limit access across the Green Line border, often closing the Green Line border at short notice.
Those planning a trip to the UK during the pandemic are encouraged to visit the UK Government travel advice pages for Cyprus and Turkey before finalising their travel arrangements.