People planning trips abroad face uncertainty, with the possibility of new countries being added to the UK’s quarantine list.
Travellers from Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland are the latest additions. Those arriving after 0400 on Saturday will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
Arrivals from Cuba will no longer be required to quarantine, after a fall in the rate of cases there.
Which countries are now on the quarantine list?
In recent weeks, the government in England has announced changes to the quarantine list on Thursdays. These have come into force the following Saturday at 0400.
Quarantine restrictions have been reapplied to several countries:
- 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
However, a sustained fall in cases has seen Cuba and Portugal added to the
dozens of ”air bridge” countries UK travellers can visit without having to quarantine on their return.
How does the government decide which countries go on the quarantine list?
The decision is generally triggered when 20 or more people out of every 100,000 in a country are infected over seven days. Other factors are also considered.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBS) – set up by the government to monitor coronavirus – advises which countries should be on the quarantine list, and which should be exempt.
- an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious
- trends in the number of cases and deaths
- information on a country’s testing capacity
Can I still go on holiday to Greece or Turkey?
There have been concerns about coronavirus rates in both Greece and Turkey, which have risen in recent weeks.
As of 26 August, Greece had a seven-day average infection rate of 14.1 cases per 100,000 people, while Turkey’s was 11.4.
This puts them below the quarantine threshold of 20 cases, but the government also considers the other factors set out above.
What if people don’t quarantine?
Travellers not self-isolating when they are supposed to can be fined £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland.
They can be fined up to £3,200 in England if they do not provide accurate contact details, or £1,920 in Wales.
Where can I go without quarantining when I get back?
Travellers from countries that pose a “reduced risk” from coronavirus – in the government’s eyes – are exempt.
Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, BES Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, San Marino, Seychelles, South Korea, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Slovakia, Slovenia, St Vincent and the Grenadine, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam
Those entering the UK from the common travel area – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – are exempt, as are the 14 British Overseas Territories.
Health measures like quarantine are set by each UK nation separately.
Which other countries are not on the list?
People entering the UK from most countries have to quarantine.
You must isolate for 14 days if you arrive in the UK from Canada, the US, much of Central and South America, and some countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Travellers from Sweden, Russia and anywhere else not on the list also have to quarantine.
Further restrictions may also be placed on UK travellers if its infection rate rises.
What about restrictions at my destination?
Travellers leaving the UK could still face restrictions – including quarantine – when they arrive in one of the exempted countries.
About half the countries and territories on the list have restrictions for arriving UK visitors. These include:
- New Zealand has barred almost all foreign travellers
- Australia requires an exemption visa if you are not a resident or a citizen and everyone entering needs to quarantine for 14 days
- South Korea requires all arrivals to be tested and to isolate for 14 days
- Adult visitors to Iceland can either quarantine for 14 days or pay for a test on arrival, and quarantine until they take a free second test 5-6 days later
- Anyone who has been in the UK in the previous 14 days is not currently allowed to enter Japan