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UAE and Qatar removed from quarantine list – Middle East transits now possible

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Your travel planning got slightly easier on Thursday when Grant Shapps announced that a number of countries have been removed from the 14-day self isolation list.

These are:

  • Bahrain
  • Chile
  • Iceland
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • UAE
  • Qatar
  • Turks & Caicos Islands

From 4am on Saturday 14th November, anyone returning to England from these countries will NOT have to self isolate for fourteen days.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that all of the countries above are willing to let you in! In the case of the UAE, however, Dubai is happily accepting British tourists.

BA Holidays has launched a Dubai flash sale

BA Holidays has jumped in with a flash sale to Dubai, valid for travel up to November 2021.

Book by Wednesday 18th November to make the following additional savings:

  • £100 extra discount with a minimum spend of £2,500 per booking
  • £50 extra discount with a minimum spend of £1,500 per booking

Transit flights are now easier

Whilst Doha remains closed, I believe, this is excellent news for anyone planning to fly with Qatar Airways.

As Qatar is now on the corridor list, you can book a Qatar Airways flight back to the UK – connecting in Doha – and avoid quarantine as long as your starting point is also on the corridor list.

The same applies, obviously, for Emirates and Etihad, providing that you meet any local rules regarding transit flights.

There are only a few long haul destinations beyond the Middle East which would also not trigger quarantine. However, it does – for example – make it easier to get to the Maldives or Seychelles. Flying home via the UAE or Doha will not now trigger quarantine.

Let’s see if any of the Middle Eastern airlines decides to capitalise on this move with some strong UK deals in time for Christmas.

Greece has been added to the quarantine list

It’s not all good news. Mainland Greece has been added to the quarantine list.

This excludes Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos although you may struggle to find direct flights at this time of year. Anyone returning from elsewhere in Greece after 4am on Saturday will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel corridors update

The Government has not yet amended the list of countries exempt from the Foreign Office ‘do not travel’ list (click here, but the standalone list has been temporarily removed for the November lockdown).

The official ‘travel corridor’ list is on this page of the Government website.

Comments (78)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Jason says:

    Im just back from Ras Al Khaimah. Disappointed that I’m now starting my 14 days of quarantine. Had I stayed another few days as my wife tried to persuade me to do…………… mmm moral of the story always listen to the wife!….lol

    • Oli says:

      You only have to quarantine until 4am Saturday

      • Jason says:

        I thought that I now have to quarantine still for the full two week period…???…. I thought it was only people that arrive back after that time that do not have to quarantine?

      • Mike P says:

        That is incorrect. If you arrive back before 4am on Saturday you have to quarantine for 14 days irrespective of when you actually arrived.

    • Tracey says:

      I think you can leave the country while in quarantine and return after the deadline for the new rules to be in effect. A quick day trip on Sunday to somewhere on a travel corridor could give you freedom.

      • Mike P says:

        This is also incorrect. You can leave the country again during quarantine but if you return, the remainder of the original quarantine requirement kicks back in.

        • Rob says:

          That’s not what Andy meant. He meant that you can leave the UK for the 14 day period when you should be quarantining and live a normal life somewhere else, then come back in 2 weeks.

          • Mike P says:

            I was replying to Tracey who was suggesting that ‘a quick day trip on Sunday to somewhere on a travel corridor could give you freedom’. This is implying that leaving the country for a day and then returning would somehow allow one to return under the new rules which isn’t correct.

            I can’t see a post here by an Andy but what you say is entirely correct, there is nothing stopping someone leaving for 2 weeks to avoid quarantine and then returning.

  • Travel Strong says:

    If only we could still consume virgin miles on a LHR-DXB jaunt. Would have been a good option for me right now.

  • IO says:

    Hi, looking to book for Christmas. Having looked at Emirates you can book a flight and then change to any flight to the same location within 24 months at no extra cost. Am I reading correctly as flights in the next 2 weeks are cheap and then I can move to Christmas period??

    • Harry T says:

      I imagine you won’t be charged a change fee but will be charged any fare difference. Read the T&Cs very carefully.

  • Will says:

    Whether you like Dubai or not , bear in mind the human rights record for construction workers (amongst others)

    • Anna says:

      You’re really going to struggle outside Europe and the likes of Canada, New Zealand etc to find a country with a great human rights record. If you look at Amnesty International’s assessments, even the places which are top of the rankings (like the UK!) don’t get off Scott free.

    • mvcvz says:

      Why? I’m not responsible for any human rights violations in Dubai (or anywhere else for that matter). And the only means I have of influencing government policy, legislation and the like is via the ballot box. And I only get to do that in the UK. And before you tell me that spending money in a country is amounts to supporting its regime, confirm for me you’ve never purchased or used even a single product manufactured in China.

      • Callum says:

        While I fully understand why you ultimately wouldn’t be influenced it, your apparent irritation to the suggestion that you should merely THINK about what you should be doing in this situation is pretty disgusting…

        I’m also incredibly sick of the incessant “if you can’t live a life wholly beyond reproach, it doesn’t matter if you put any effort into being moral at all” arguments wherever a topic like this comes up. No, buying a product manufactured in China doesn’t mean you should completely ignore all global human rights issues. While being perfect would be great, aspiring to be better is clearly superior to not trying at all.

        • mvcvz says:

          I’m not irritated by the suggestion. Although I am in turn sick to the hilt of bleating, ineffectual, self-aggrandising, hypocritical virtue signaling. And for the record, I’m not claiming to be perfect. You’re the one sanctimoniously telling others what they should do/think. And I suspect you mean ethics, rather than morals. Perhaps you would like to spend your time whilst not in Dubai getting a bit of a basic education? Not quite so sexy when it’s others telling you what to do, is it?

    • Michael C says:

      As 2 dads (with a son), we have indeed unfortunately avoided Dubai (and the recommendations of “each male should ask the hotel for an individual bed, which should appear to be slept in”!!!). However, as Anna, says, we do go to, say, the US / China, and a long etc. Guess it just has to be a personal, case-by-case decision.
      Spain was high on the Amnesty list for a long time during the ETA/GAL heyday.

      • Anna says:

        Spain still gets scrutiny for things like the police using rubber bullets which are banned under international law, and the working conditions for migrant African workers in Andalucia do sometimes seem to be little better than where they came from originally!

        It’s just really odd that the UAE comes in for so much criticism on this site but noone seems to have an issue with countries with similar or worse records (not Spain, I was just using that as an illustration that even European democrarcies haven’t got it 100% right yet).

    • Rob says:

      There is very simple way to fix this. Open up the UK to unlimited numbers of unskilled workers from India and Pakistan.

      Not so keen on the idea now are you?

      You can’t support blocking these people coming to the UK to work and also complain if they are badly treated when other countries allow them in. The easiest and quickest way to improve working conditions for migrants is to allow them unlimited access to the UK, as that would force standards and pay to rise elsewhere.

      If you’re not prepared to support that, you can’t complain.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        +1 Rob. Although I would also say our human rights record for unskilled and seasonal workers isn’t spotless either (Morecambe bay comes to mind). Boycotting a tourist destination “because human rights” is the exact opposite of what we should be doing – values and culture don’t get transmitted by isolationism and travel and tourism are some of the most effective liberalising forces ever devised.

        • John says:

          Morecambe Bay was illegal trafficked people.

        • Anna says:

          The Morecambe Bay tragedy was nothing to do with the UK government – the workers who died were here illegally and therefore unknown to the authorities. Several people were convicted of offences including manslaughter. This was an appalling crime, but not a human rights abuse in the legal sense.

          • mvcvz says:

            How in the blue hell was the UK government directly responsible for the Morecambe event? Indeed, had a harder line with respect to immigration been in place at the time, then the unfortunate victims may well never have been exposed to the gangmasters who caused the tragedy. You are permitting your political agenda to rewrite history.

      • memesweeper says:

        > If you’re not prepared to support that, you can’t complain.

        I can complain! I would like to see basic health and safety standards on building sites, worldwide, now. Many (certainly most wealthy) countries manage better than the UAE in this respect (and I think it’s orthogonal to any question about the UK’s attitudes to imported labour).

        I definitely prefer travel destinations with non-horrific human rights violations. Nowhere is perfect but I can choose to direct my money away from those countries practising the most egregious violations.

      • Callum says:

        What complete and utter rubbish. I think you’re fully aware that allowing immediate, unlimited immigration to the UK would result in a huge collapse in working conditions and skyrocketing poverty rates.

        Not signing up to your absolutely ridiculous plan (is that your answer to everything? Don’t like something abroad, invite everyone to live in the UK or shut up!?) doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to object to human rights abuse.

        There are perfectly sound arguments about how visiting and engaging can be a net positive. This argument is incomprehensibly bad – I can’t believe you’re still using it!

        • Rob says:

          You have no experience of this, though – you just believe what you see in a couple of media reports. Tens of thousands of people happily move to work on construction projects in the Middle East because it offers their families a better life than the truly awful one they have back home. Whilst some clearly are exploited, I would be surprised if the vast majority didn’t feel they were better off than the life they temporarily left behind.

          If you dig out Season 1 of Auf Wiedersehen Pet you’ll remember that 40 years ago plenty of unemployed Brits had to head out to Europe to find work in construction, living in huts!

      • mvcvz says:

        This x about a billion.

    • Andrew says:

      Manchester, home of “The Graudian” newspaper, is on my boycott list for the recent human rights horrors at the university.

  • Graeme P says:

    Am I correct in thinking you still need to do a £200 PCR Covid test BEFORE being allowed to fly from UK to DXB?

    • Rob says:

      You now have the option of a test on arrival but apparently the queues are shocking.

      • JANE V says:

        Is the airport test free of charge?

        • Rob says:

          I believe it is free. You must isolate in your hotel until you receive the results, however.

          • Chris says:

            I arrived in DXB on Tuesday (3rd) on a full A380 from Heathrow. The test on arrival was indeed free, the queue was about an hour, and we got the result 22 hours later. Just my experience and not to say it won’t get longer if they allow more countries to enter this way (currently just UK and Germany)

  • G says:

    Booked Dubai speculatively to travel in December during the 50% Avios sale (when UAE was on the quarantine list and advice was against all but essential travel).

    With UAE now off the quarantine list, will Amex Platinum insurance now cover the trip? Seems to be a bit of confusion out there with “booking date”.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Adnan says:

    Hi Rob. Would the transit include to/from LHR to Dubai via Bahrain on Gulf Air?

    • Rob says:

      That’s fine, yes, because Bahrain is also on the all-clear list now.

      Bottom line, of course, is that ANY indirect flight is extra risk because there is plenty of time for your stopping point to go back on. For example …. we are looking at going down to Dubai on Lufthansa but coming back direct, probably Emirates, in case Germany remains on the quarantine list on the day we return. The outbound isn’t an issue as we would be there for 14 days.

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