Canary Islands removed from travel corridor list, 2 countries added

Dec 10, 2020

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has made a new round of changes to England’s travel corridor list. Around 5 p.m., Shapps took to his Twitter to announce the changes.

This week, Saudi Arabia and Botswana have been added to the travel corridor list. At the same time, the Canary Islands have been removed from the list.

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As of 4 a.m. on Saturday, 12 December, travellers entering England from Saudi Arabia and Botswana will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days.

Also as of that same time, travellers entering England from the Canary Islands will now have to quarantine for 14 days. The Canary Islands were readded to the travel corridors list in late October. As a result of their return to the quarantine-free list, airlines added new frequencies from the U.K. to meet demand.

Since lockdown lifted on 2 December, non-essential travel is permitted to some international destinations that the government deems low-risk. Typically, those destinations coincide with those that are on this travel corridors list — however, it’s worth checking your destination.

RelatedWhat is considered essential travel vs. non-essential travel during coronavirus restrictions?

This week did see adjustments to the travel corridors list at a regional level. In September, the government unveiled its regional corridor approach. With it, the government can make decisions based on regions — like islands — rather than placing or removing an entire country from the list. With Thursday’s announcement, the Canary Islands join the rest of Spain in its exclusion from the corridors list.

Last week, the government made no changes to its travel corridors list, however, it did introduce new exemptions to quarantine for some business travellers. As such, “high value” business travellers, certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspeople can be exempt from the 14-day quarantine, regardless of where they’re travelling from.

Last month, Shapps introduced England’s new Test to Release strategy. With it, travellers entering England from destinations not on the travel corridor list can choose to cut their quarantine to five days if they take a COVID-19 test that produces a negative result.

The test will be at the cost of the traveller and must be from a government-approved private provider. The new Test to Release strategy comes into effect from 15 December.

Related: Government making ‘good progress’ on testing programme to reduce quarantine period

However, for the time being, travellers entering England from non-travel corridor countries are still expected to follow the mandatory quarantine requirements.

It’s worth noting that Thursday’s changes apply to travellers arriving in England, not the whole of the U.K. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have largely introduced their own sets of travel corridors, which can differ from that of England’s.

The government has said several times that it’s keeping its travel corridor list under review constantly. At any moment, the government could add or remove countries from its list.

Featured photo by Zu Sanchez Photography/Getty Images.

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