England transport secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that passengers arriving in the country from certain destinations will no longer need to self-isolate. The list of countries has been published. Spain, Germany, France, and Greece have been included. Ireland is excluded as part of the common travel area, as are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Portugal and the United States are currently not considered safe.
The new measures will be implemented from July 10th
Travelers arriving at the selected destinations can enter England without needing to self-isolate. That is unless they have been in or traveled through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days. Trade body ABTA welcomed the belated decision. A spokesperson said: “The government announcement today will be greeted with huge relief by the travel industry, which can now plan ahead and take summer holiday bookings.
Shapps explained that a risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, also discussed with Public Health England and the chief medical officer. The assessment includes various factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the number of new cases, and the potential course of the disease in that destination. All arrivals to the UK, except those on a list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information. The exempted countries and territories will be constantly reviewed in case the health risks increase.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is expected to update its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel. This is to exempt certain destinations that no longer show a high risk of Covid-19.
Travel advice is based on an assessment of various factors that could put British nationals under risk when abroad
Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Travel advice is based on an assessment of a range of factors that could present risks to British nationals when abroad, using different criteria to the list of countries exempted from self-isolation measures. It is based on a range of factors including epidemiological risks, the capacity of local healthcare systems, transport options, and law and order. These FCO travel advice exemptions will come into effect on July 4th and will be kept under review.”
The exemptions from self-isolation apply to sea and international rail routes, flights, and all modes of international travel. The entrusted administrations will show their approach to exemptions. Thus, passengers returning to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland should follow the laws and guidelines which apply there.
Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK, while welcoming the move, said, “This week the EU issued its own list recommending the lifting of travel restrictions from over 40 member states and third countries and we believe that there is no reason the whole of the UK should not reopen to at least that number of initial countries given the multi-layered risk mitigation measures now in place.
“Every day that overseas markets are closed is costing the UK heavily in lost jobs, collapsing trade and negative social impacts, and we urge the UK government to continually review and expand the list countries as soon as the criteria are met.”