Holiday and flights to Turkey suspended as nation remains on Covid red list

Airlines and tour operators have grounded holiday flights to Turkey after the country was marooned on the UK Government travel red list for another three weeks.

Jet2 suspended all flights and breaks to Turkish resorts until August 11 when transport secretary Grant Shapps kept the country locked in the red category of destinations in the UK traffic light travel system.

Latest data from Istanbul suggests Turkey’s infection rate is 44 per 100,000 citizens whereas UK’s rate is 336 per 100,000. But pleas from holidaymakers and tour firms to move Turkey to amber status were ignored.

Turkey has administered more than 60 million doses of the Covid vaccine, and according to data from the country’s health ministry, 38 million people have been given their first doses of the injection, with more than 18 million people have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

It currently has an average rate of 42 infections per 100,000 people in the last seven days – amber-listed Portugal, by way of comparison, has 192.85 cases per 100,000.

Turkey is currently letting UK travellers into the country, providing they have a negative PCR test at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

The country was added to the red list in May, meaning travel to and from the country is advised against and anyone who does so will need to quarantine in a designated hotel for ten days when they return to the UK.

The quarantine period cannot be carried out at home or at any other accommodation, and will set you back more than £1,000.

But holidaymakers were hoping Turkey would be added at least to the amber list in the most recent changes to the travel lists, but this was not the case.

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Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “As Turkey is still on the Red List, we have taken the decision to suspend all flights and holidays up to and including August 11 and all affected customers will have their booking cancelled with a full refund.

“The UK Government has committed to reviewing its Traffic Light status of overseas destinations every three weeks.

“We will continue to review our programme and policies in line with that timetable and we will continue to make considered decisions in the best interests of our customers and independent travel agency partners. We have been repeatedly recognised for that approach throughout the pandemic, and we will continue to do this.”

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