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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Could the red list return this winter – and where’s the safest bet for holidays?

A Covid resurgence on the Continent has raised the depressing prospect of travel restrictions – and the UK’s much-maligned red list – making an unwanted return. 

The list, detailing countries from which arrivals must spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel, was effectively scrapped on November 1 when the last seven countries occupying it (Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela) were removed. 

However, there has been speculation that rising rates in Europe could see it called out of retirement. Newspaper reports have pointed to analysis by Covid number cruncher Tim White, who highlighted record infection rates in several countries including Norway, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. 

While it seems that the Government is keen to lessen restrictions on travel, rather than reimpose them, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently warned that the red list is merely dormant, not extinct, and he would be “prepared to add countries and territories back if needed”. 

Where are Covid rates the highest?

While infections have remained steady in the UK since the summer, ongoing efforts to suppress the virus in Europe appear to have left it more susceptible to a winter spike. 

The last few weeks have seen big surges in several countries, notably Austria – which has imposed a new lockdown and plans to make vaccination mandatory; the Netherlands – which has reintroduced a curfew and other restrictions; Germany – which has cancelled Christmas markets; and the Czech Republic – where unvaccinated people are now banned from some shops and services, including pubs. 

According to Our World in Data, seven countries now have daily case rates more than double that of the UK. 

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