Government announce no changes to England’s travel corridor list – but ‘business travellers’ exempt from quarantine

Dec 3, 2020

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In the week that we came out of the U.K.’s second national lockdown, the government today has made no changes to its travel corridors list in its weekly update. On Thursday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter to announce the news.

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As of 2 December and the end of lockdown, England entered a tiered system with three levels of restrictions based on the rate of infection in areas across the country. The rules for Britons living in all tiers 1, 2 and 3 do not prohibit travel abroad for non-essential reasons. In other words, holiday travel is back on the cards.

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

The government has also announced that certain types of professionals will be exempt from quarantining as of 4 a.m. on Saturday – even if they are returning from countries that are not on the travel corridor list.

These are “high value” business travellers, certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspeople.

Mr Shapps also said in his separate announcement on Twitter that “certain conditions apply” and that the move was to support “more travel to support the economy and jobs”. Full guidance is to follow.

There were also no changes to the corridor list on a regional level, an approach which the government unveiled for the first time back in September. 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 we welcomed some great news for travellers looking to minimise their time in quarantine. With England’s new Test to Release strategy, 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: It’s official: You’ll now be able to test out of the mandatory 14-day quarantine

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 the travel corridors made reference to here are for those 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 Getty Images.

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