The UK plans to scrap the 14-day quarantine for arrivals from 73 “low risk” countries and territories from July 10. Amid bickering over the plans, the quarantine-free travel policy for now only applies to England.
Britain introduced self-isolation on arrival for nearly all travelers on June 8. Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Japan are among those who will now skip those rules. But a few days after being banned indefinitely from Europe travel, the U.S. is again being snubbed. Canada too is not included on the quarantine exemption list. Nor is Portugal–the favorite holiday spot for Brits. Others on the quarantine “red list” are Sweden, China, Russia and India.
Quarantine Free Travel To England Or To The UK?
After weeks of talk of “air bridges”, and traffic light systems for low, medium and high risk countries, the plan was finally unveiled on Friday. But it’s off to a rocky start.
Leaders in Scotland and Wales have described it as “shambolic”. They say they were not properly consulted, and want more time to decide whether to ease travel restrictions.
The UK Government confirms the “travel corridors” for now apply only to England. Information for travel into Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published by the respective parliaments it adds.
Scotland is “closed for business” declared Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, threatening to draw up her own plan instead. This has provoked a furious backlash from Scottish businesses, The Telegraph reports.
But Sturgeon said the Scottish government was “very likely” to adopt the measures reports the BBC. Once it rules out any risk from “medium risk” countries.
Who Will Skip Quarantine On Arrival From July 10
Quarantine-free travel to England, for foreigners and returning Brits, will soon apply to 27 European countries, 32 countries overseas, and 14 British overseas territories.
Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are already exempt from the rules.
Here’s the government’s list, which it says may be added to over coming days.
What Does It Mean
From 10 July 2020 you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to England from one of the countries with travel corridor exemption. As long as you have not been in a non-exempt country in the previous 14 days. “This applies to all travel to England, by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route,” says the UK Government.
If you have “been to or stopped” in a country that’s not quarantine-free, you will have to self-isolate for 2 weeks after that visit.
What Does It Mean For Brits
If they travel to countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands, there will be no quarantine on either leg of their journey.
Again, The Telegraph refers to quarantine-free travel only for “English” holidaymakers. Despite the shambles, many observers feel Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will approve the relaxed rules on overseas arrivals soon.
For now, reports The Guardian, “Those changes only affect airports and ports in England, but major airports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have extensive air links to overseas destinations which are due to slowly resume services.”
The Foreign Office has adjusted its global travel advisory accordingly as of July 4 to take into account the safe list of countries.
Destinations “that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers”, it says, are now exempt from the warning against “all but essential travel”. Something which will have a positive impact on travel insurance for your trip.
Not True Travel Corridors Without Reciprocity
But there are major question marks and incongruities that need to be ironed out. The quarantine-free travel is far from reciprocal. “Half of the countries have restrictions when you arrive there,” the BBC reports. “While Greece won’t allow UK holidayers in until at least July 15.”
Australia’s borders remain closed to all tourists. In Austria you must present a medical certificate, or self-isolate. “Don’t Book Just Yet!” urges The Telegraph, at least not to some destinations, due to the ongoing travel restrictions.
“Crucially, however, these are not true ‘travel corridors’ because the arrangements are not reciprocal,” says Rory Boland from consumer magazine Which? “Some of these countries, like New Zealand, will still have restrictions on entry by UK residents.”
To add to the confusion, the Foreign Office has removed warnings for destinations such as Canada and the Netherlands, which are not on the quarantine exemption list.
What Does It Mean For Americans
Americans who are being shut out of Europe with the ongoing travel ban can enter England. But they will still face 14 days’ quarantine upon arrival. This as the United States witnesses a steep acceleration in Covid cases and hospital admissions, particularly in the southern half of the U.S.
The quarantine rules are spelt out clearly in this story.
What Does It Mean For Canadians
They too still face mandatory self-isolation. So why is Canada now officially exempt from Foreign Office advice against all non-essential international travel? For CBC:“This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks, the UK government said on its travel advisory website.”