*****UPDATE: The full list of around 60 destinations which will be exempt from quarantine from July 10, can now be seen at gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors*****
The UK government has confirmed plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving into England from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, though the U.S will remain requiring quarantine.
The widely expected changes mean that from July 10, passengers returning to or visiting England from the above countries will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival.
Further exemptions are set to be announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps later today, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will update its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel, with changes coming into effect on July 4.
The current 14-day quarantine requirements for arrivals into the UK came into affect on June 8.
Note that the changes refer only to arrivals into England – Scotland and Wales have yet to confirm any easing of restrictions, and in Northern Ireland quarantine regulations remain in place for travellers arriving from outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The BBC reports that around 60 countries are expected to be included in the list of quarantine exemptions.
In a statement the Department for Transport said:
“Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will set out today.
“The new measures will come into force from July 10, 2020, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.
“A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.
“The list of countries will be published later today. A number of countries will be exempted from the requirement for passengers arriving into England to self-isolate for 14 days. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.
“The government’s expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the UK to self-isolate. This will mean that holidaymakers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey.
“The exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England.”
Announcing the news Shapps said:
“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.
“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”
Shapps was interviewed on BBC Radio’s Today programme this morning, and confirmed that Greece would not be on one of the exempt countries (although this appears to have changed, given the list now published above).
The Secretary of State and Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:
“The aviation sector, tourism industry and UK economy will be relieved by this news and we welcome it.”
“To minimise the risk to both passengers and workers from Covid-19, the UK Government now needs to champion the development and implementation of global health standards. The UK has led the world in the creation of aviation safety and we should do likewise in the creation of a universal health standard to keep us all safe.
“Today’s news will go some way to restoring customer confidence. Passengers will also need reassurance on insurance and refund issues and we look forward to hearing how the Government will take forward our recommendations on the Airline Insolvency Bill and reform of the Civil Aviation Authority.”