Pricey Grant Shapps,
You really do not have my cellphone range, but I assurance that several of your hard-working officers do we speak generally, generally (at my behest) at unsocial several hours. The motive I point out it: each individual Thursday, just in advance of 5pm, my colleagues and I cease what we’re doing and gather, just about, all around your Twitter feed for our now-acquainted teatime quarantine bingo.
Little bets are exchanged on which international locations may possibly sign up for the UK’s no-go listing, and – more excitingly from a journey standpoint – which could gain exemption from the government’s abiding principle that arrivals from overseas are suspect and have to self-isolate for two months.
Right before your most current efficiency, my prediction to colleagues was: “South Africa is the only one particular I can see coming off the list, 5-1 that Jamaica may possibly, and a pair of insignificant and irrelevant surprises.”
Nicely, you absolutely stunned me this week. I was at first thrilled to understand, in your Trumpian capitals: “ISRAEL, NAMIBIA, RWANDA, SRI LANKA, URUGUAY, BONAIRE, ST EUSTATIUS & SABA, THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS and THE US VIRGIN ISLANDS have been Additional to the #TravelCorrdor [sic] listing.”
These have been the two key and minimal surprises. But from the holidaymaker’s level of view, it turns out all are supremely irrelevant.
Could I lead you through the welcome available by the tourism authorities in some of those nations around the world?
“Entry to Israel will be refused to non-citizens or non-citizens of Israel arriving from anywhere in the environment.”
“Entry to Sri Lanka is now prohibited for all non-nationals, and the government of Sri Lanka is not at present issuing visas to journey to the state.”
“Borders are at this time shut due to the presence of the coronavirus,” says Uruguay’s tourism ministry.
I have no plan what the procedures are in the Northern Mariana Islands (nor, indeed, their southern archipelagic counterparts) but that is mainly because they are meaningless: I can come across no way amongst the United kingdom and the scattering of isles in the western Pacific that does not require a non-public jet.
The Caribbean locations you point out (the Dutch isles of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba and the US Virgin Islands) are available by scheduled flights, but only by transiting an airport these kinds of as Amsterdam or San Juan, Puerto Rico towards International Office guidance – and triggering self-isolation on return to the Uk.
Mr Shapps, the most considerable additions to the journey corridor listing are Namibia and Rwanda. The federal government has insisted for the very last eight months that all of Africa is “unacceptably large risk”. Last but not least, the Foreign Business has stopped pretending that you or I are at sizeable hazard of contracting coronavirus in Rwanda – which has a fee of new bacterial infections a single-250th of the UK’s.
But neither place is quarantine-free. Though Rwanda does have a immediate hyperlink from Heathrow to the cash, Kigali, it stops en route at Brussels in each directions – trashing the no-quarantine rule. And the usual route to Namibia is by means of South Africa, which has opened up to British readers but which is even now on your no-go listing.
If Qatar Airways (or Emirates, or Etihad) experienced a nonstop flight from its hub in the Gulf to the capitals, Kigali and Windhoek, that would certainly be great. But sadly there are no this kind of immediate flights right up until 29 March 2021.
Transportation secretary, you might have imagined you have been removing the have to have to self-isolate for arrivals from a few of African nations around the world, but you have been not. I could have instructed you all of this at 4.30pm on Thursday, and saved you a tweet that might as effectively have read through: “OK to go to NARNIA and THE MOON.”