23rd October 2020
Updates and News
The UK Quarantine Dilemma
Update 22 October: The Canary Islands, Denmark, Maldives and Mykonos will be added to the list of countries from which arrivals will be required to quarantine, effective from 4 am on Sunday 25 October. Liechtenstein will be removed from that also with effect from 4 am on Sunday 25 October.
Update 16 October: Italy, San Marino and the Vatican City State have been removed from the quarantine-free list. Any arrivals into the UK from these places will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from 4 am on SUNDAY October 18. Crete has been added to the quarantine-free list.
Update, October 8 Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos and Zakynthos will be added to the England travel corridor list at 4 am Saturday 10 October 2020.
Update, October 1 Today it was announced that Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Poland and Turkey will be removed from the England travel corridors list at 4 am, Saturday 3 October 2020. Italy and Germany are still on the quarantine-free list.
Update, September 25 Four more countries have been removed from Britain’s list of quarantine-free travel options: Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and the Caribbean island of Curacao. From 4 am on Saturday, September 26 any arrivals from those destinations, including returning holidaymakers, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Update, September 18 People arriving from Singapore and Thailand in England and Scotland will not need to quarantine from Saturday morning. They have been added to the list of quarantine-free countries. But travellers coming from Slovenia and Guadeloupe will have to self-isolate for two weeks. Both have also been added to Wales' quarantine list, while arrivals there from Gibraltar and Thailand will not need to self-isolate. The changes come into force at 04:00 BST on Saturday, September 19.
From Saturday 12 September arrivals from Portugal will have to self-isolate for fourteen days. Hungary and Reunion have also been added to the list for arrivals in England and Wales. But, arrivals in England and Wales from Sweden are no longer required to self-isolate. It is an increasingly changing and confusing situation prompting calls for a uniform policy across the four countries of the United Kingdom. Or, a better means of controlling COVID-19 such as airport testing.
Since the first list of quarantine-exempt countries was published on July 10 the many changes have been made and restrictions have been reapplied to countries, or areas, that were previously exempt:
- 12 September - Hungary and Reunion (travellers to Wales)
- 12 September - mainland Portugal, Hungary, Reunion and French Polynesia (travellers to England)
- 9 September - Greek islands Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (Zante) (travellers to England and Northern Ireland)
- 5 September - Portugal and French Polynesia (travellers to Scotland)
- 4 September - Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and six Greek islands (travellers to Wales)
- 3 September - Greece (travellers to Scotland)
- 2 September -Zakynthos (travellers to Wales)
- 29 August - Czech Republic, Jamaica, Switzerland
- 22 August - Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago (plus Switzerland, for travellers to Scotland)
- 15 August - France, Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Turks & Caicos, Aruba
- 8 August - Belgium, Andorra, Bahamas
- 31 July - Luxembourg
- 27 July – Spain
How the Quarantine List is Decided
The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) was established to monitor coronavirus. It works with the chief medical officers of each country in the UK and advises on places that should be on the list. In general quarantine will be imposed on arrivals from places where 20 or more people out of every 100,000 are infected over a period of 7 days. But this test is not definitive but other factors are also taken into consideration including the testing capacity in the place being considered for inclusion.
As each nation in the UK decides its own health policies the quarantine list is also their responsibility. This results in different lists for each country and added confusion for travellers. As of Saturday, September 12 travellers from the following countries are considered to pose a "reduced-risk" from coronavirus - in the government's eyes – and are exempt from quarantine on arrival in the UK:
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Azores, Barbados, BES Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece (except seven islands, from 9 September), Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Madeira, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Seychelles, South Korea, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Slovakia, Slovenia, St Vincent and the Grenadine, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam
Restrictions on Travellers from the United Kingdom
Travellers leaving the UK must also consider whether or not restrictions will be imposed on arrival at their destination. Each country operates a different policy which should be checked before travel plans are formalised. There are two very useful websites that keep up to date with current restrictions if any. Re-open EU was established by the European Union (EU0, to help travellers plan their trip to destinations within the EU. It has up to date information about restrictions at the borders of each member state. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has created the Timatic Database an online interactive map of the world. It records up to date Covid-19 entry regulations for international travel to every country in the world.