You don’t have my phone number, but I guarantee that several of your hard-working officials do; we talk often, usually (at my behest) at unsocial hours. The reason I mention it: every Thursday, just before 5pm, my colleagues and I stop what we’re doing and gather, virtually, around your Twitter feed for our now-familiar teatime quarantine bingo.
Small bets are exchanged on which countries might join the UK’s no-go list, and – more excitingly from a travel perspective – which may gain exemption from the government’s abiding principle that arrivals from abroad are suspect and must self-isolate for two weeks.
Before your latest performance, my prediction to colleagues was: “South Africa is the only one I can see coming off the list, 5-1 that Jamaica might, and a couple of minor and irrelevant surprises.”
Well, you certainly surprised me this week. I was initially thrilled to learn, 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 ADDED to the #TravelCorrdor [sic] list.”
These were both major and minor surprises. But from the holidaymaker’s point of view, it turns out all are supremely irrelevant.
May I lead you through the welcome offered by the tourism authorities in some of those countries?
“Entry to Israel will be refused to non-citizens or non-residents of Israel arriving from anywhere in the world.”
“Entry to Sri Lanka is currently prohibited for all non-nationals, and the government of Sri Lanka is not currently issuing visas to travel to the country.”