People entering England from seven Greek islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST on Wednesday.
It marks the introduction of ”regional travel corridors” – where different quarantine rules may apply to the mainland and islands of the same country, if their coronavirus rates are very different.
It comes after the UK nations were split over their travel quarantine policies, with Wales and Scotland imposing restrictions on Greece and Portugal last week.
So, where can you go on holiday now without quarantining?
Which countries are now on the quarantine list?
People entering the UK from most countries have to quarantine.
Restrictions have recently been reapplied to several countries, or areas, which were previously exempt:
- 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 is the quarantine list decided?
The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) – set up by the government to monitor coronavirus – works with the chief medical officers of each UK nation and advises on where should be on the list.
The decision is usually made when 20 or more people out of every 100,000 in a country, or island, are infected over seven days, but other factors are also considered. These include:
- the estimated proportion of the population that is currently infectious
- trends in the number of cases and deaths
- information on a country’s testing capacity
- how much the virus has spread, including clusters of cases and the level of transmission in the community
Why is England introducing regional travel corridors?
The government can take a targeted approach to setting quarantine rules now that other countries can share robust data on their coronavirus rates, Transport Minister Grant Shapps says.
Distinctions will only be made between islands and the mainland, as it is too difficult to distinguish between inland regions, and people could travel too easily between them.
To this effect, seven Greek islands where coronavirus rates pose ”a significant risk to UK public health” will go on England’s quarantine list from the early hours of 9 September. But travellers entering from the rest of Greece will not face restrictions.
Why were there different decisions on Portugal and Greece?
Health is a devolved policy, meaning each UK nation sets its own quarantine list. But until recently these have generally been identical.
In early September, Scotland and Wales decided to apply quarantine measures to all or parts of Greece after a number of cases of the virus were traced back to travellers from there.
They also both added Portugal to their quarantine list, after it breached the key threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 people.
But England and Northern Ireland did not apply quarantine restrictions to travellers from Greece and Portugal, although England is now bringing in restrictions for some Greek islands.
Although Portugal has breached the cases threshold, the transport minister said the country been doing more testing, and the percentage of those testing positive had fallen from 1.8% to 1.6%.
”We don’t want to exclude countries for doing the right thing and carrying out a lot of tests,” he told the BBC.
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 (except seven islands, from 9 September), Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, 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.
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.
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. For example, everyone entering Australia needs to quarantine for 14 days, and an exemption visa is required if you are not a resident or a citizen.