It’s official: Government lifts quarantine restrictions for travel from 59 low-risk countries

Jul 3, 2020

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Travel to some international holiday destinations is about to get a lifeline from the U.K. government. As of Friday, the government has unveiled plans to allow for those coming back from 59 low-risk countries to not have to self-isolate when entering England as of 10 July.

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Travellers returning to or visiting England from certain destinations will no longer have to isolate for 14 days when they arrive in England as of 10 July. The full list of 59 exempt countries includes:

  • Australia and Pacific Islands: Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand
  • Africa: Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles
  • Asia: Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam
  • Caribbean and Central America: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Vatican City
  • North America: St Pierre and Miquelon

“These are countries where it is now possible to travel if you’re in England to those countries and back and not have to quarantine at the end of the holiday”, Transport Minister Grant Schapps said in an interview on Friday.

Ireland, as well as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man remain on the exempt list. In addition, the 14 British Overseas Territories are exempt. The restrictions applies to all travel to England by train, ferry, coach, air or any other route.

It’s worth noting that if you are a national of one of the 59 exempt countries but have travelled to a non-exempt country in the past 14 days, you will still be subject to the 14-day self-isolation requirement when arriving in England.

The FCO has also updated its guidance. As of 4 July, the FCO said that travel to 67 countries “no longer presents an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad”. As such, it’s revised its non-essential travel restrictions. You can find the full list of 67 countries that the FCO says it is safe to travel to here.

In effect, this means that for travel to these 67 countries, your travel insurance is once again valid.

In March, the FCO set out its original guidance, advising British nationals against all non-essential international travel, which has remained in place since. Friday’s announcement is the first change to that policy, which will allow travellers to visit eligible countries without having to worry whether or not their insurance will be valid.

Related: What happens if you ignore government advice to travel right now?

On 8 June, the government first implemented its mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving international passengers — including U.K. nationals. The aviation and travel industries had largely opposed the requirements since it was introduced, with IAG, Ryanair and EasyJet formally taking legal action against the government.

According to the government, the list of exempt countries will be kept under constant review.

All passengers, regardless of where they’re arriving from, will still be required to provide contact information when arriving in the U.K. This applies to both visitors and U.K. residents. You can find the form here.

Arriving passengers from countries not on the exempt list will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the U.K. Additionally, the changing FCO advice will not apply to countries that are deemed high-risk, such as the United States.

This is a developing story…

Featured photo by Nachosuch/Getty.

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