Colombians are still not welcome in the U.K., despite the government removing from its ‘red list’ eight countries – Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya – and recognizing full vaccination schemes from 17 others. Among them Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Singapore. The fully vaccinated from these select group of nations must provide proof of a complete inoculation cycle – plus 14-days – of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen vaccines.
The decision by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to lift quarantine restrictions and mandatory pre-arrival PCR testing for select international travelers entering Britain, as well as scrap the second-tier ‘amber list’ is being criticized as a move that rewards citizens from developed nations or strategic allies. Every South American nation – including Chile with one of the most successful vaccine roll-outs in the world – remain on the red list. The changes for fully vaccinated travelers coming from non-red list countries come into effect September 22. The only Central American nations that remain on the red list are Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.
With the end of the traffic light system, a host of African nations remain on the red list, including South Africa, raising the ire of government, business and tourism officials.
British and Irish Nationals, or those with residence rights in the UK, are permitted to enter the country from a red list nation providing each traveller hands-over £2,285 (COP$11 Million) for a 10-day hotel quarantine package that includes 2 COVID-19 tests. If you have visited or reside in a red list country and are fully vaccinated you still must still self-isolate in a government authorized hotel. The FCO has advised nationals not to travel to red-list nations.
By barring the entry of Colombians based on “known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of COVID-19,” the U.K has registered in the last seven days an average of 29,067 new cases of coronavirus, while in Colombia, the same average is 1,545. On Sunday, Colombia reported 1,813 compared to 29,007 in the UK.
Colombia dropped below 20,000 active cases on Monday – 19,198 – number not seen in the country since June 2, 2020. The continued deceleration in new cases and mortality rates – despite circulation of the Mu and Delta variants – isn’t putting Colombia in favor with the UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
So, the question must be asked: Will Colombians with strong ties to the UK, or Colombo-British households, tip the scales of new coronavirus infection? The answer is: No. When it comes to keeping that “strong bilateral relationship” strong, the only color many on both sides of the pond are seeing now is: red.