Great Britain

Maldives, Sri Lanka and Egypt removed from Foreign Office no-go list

The Foreign Office has updated its advice for travel to the Maldives, Egypt and Sri Lanka to allow for non-essential travel.

Despite the UK government moving the countries from the red list to the amber list on 22 September, the FCDO had continued advising against all but essential travel to all three.

“The FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to the Maldives, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks,” reads the 28 September update to the FCDO advice on the Maldives, with an identical statement on the other two countries’ pages.

There was no update for Bangladesh, which also came off the red list on 22 September, but which the Foreign Office is still advising against travel to.

Turkey, Kenya, Pakistan and Oman were removed from the red list on the same date, but their FCDO advice pages had been updated immediately to allow for non-essential travel. There was no explanation for the six-day gap between the red list removal and travel advice updates for the Maldives, Egypt and Sri Lanka.

“There is either a risk or there isn’t. If a country is amber then the FCDO advice in relation to Covid risk must be updated, otherwise it’s red,” said Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, at the time.

“We need the government to ensure complete clarity is given to Brits because its communication in relation to international travel thus far has been anything but.”

Foreign Office advice for destinations is crucial for travel insurance - if the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to a destination, most travel insurance policies are invalidated.

Meanwhile, it looks as though South Africa may be the next country to leave the red list.

A statement from the British High Commission in Pretoria earlier today announced that “recent findings” will be fed into the next review of the country’s position on the UK’s travel lists.

The careful wording appears designed to allow British ministers to declare they can remove South Africa from the red list based on newly acquired data.

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