Italy, Vatican City and San Marino removed from travel corridor list, 1 Greek island added

Oct 15, 2020

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Another Thursday late afternoon brings us an update from Transport Secretary Grant Schapps. This week, the U.K. government will remove Italy, Vatican City State and San Marino from its travel corridors list. At the same time, it’s readding Crete to its list, rendering travel to the Greek island more accessible for the time being.

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Transport Secretary Grant Schapps made the announcement on his Twitter that as of 4 a.m. on Sunday, 18 October, travellers entering England from Italy, Vatican City State and San Marino will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The restriction applies even to British nationals who are currently abroad on holiday.

Additionally, as of Sunday, arrivals from Crete will no longer have to quarantine.

Note that Thursday’s announcement applies to the whole of the U.K., not just arrivals entering England. As of Sunday, the U.K. will be aligned with advice for travel to the Greek islands.

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

It’s unclear why this week’s changes take effect on Sunday morning at 4 a.m. Every week prior, the changes to the travel corridor list took effect as of Saturday morning at 4 a.m.

This week did see adjustments to the travel corridors list at a regional level by readding Crete. Last month, 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.

Last week, for example, the government readded five Greek islands to the travel corridor list. So while travellers can still go to mainland Greece and some Greek islands without having to quarantine on return to England, one island still requires quarantine. Passengers returning to England from Mykonos still have to quarantine.

Interestingly, the government unveiled its Global Travel Taskforce last week, which could see some changes to this travel corridor approach to international travel in the future. Airline and travel industry executives have long pressed the government to adopt a testing alternative to quarantining in order to reestablish tourism to and from the U.K.

The development of the Global Travel Taskforce is a step in the direction of establishing an alternative to the 14-day quarantine requirement. However, for the time being, travellers entering England from non-travel corridor countries are still expected to follow the mandatory quarantine requirements.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Global Travel Taskforce and what it means for your holiday

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 Isaac74/Getty Images.

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