Holidays are finally back on the cards with the 14-day quarantine rule to be axed from July 10, it has been announced. From this date, Britons living in England will be able to confidently travel to a number of countries deemed “lower risk.” The full list of nations will be announced later today.
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However, it expected to include tourist hotspots France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Almost all other European nations will be on the list with the exception of Sweden.
Turkey, Norway and Iceland are also understood to be included.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps spoke about the new rules and latest travel advice in a BBC interview today.
“The actual list itself will be published this afternoon… so 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,” he said.
He explained that countries have been categorised depending on how low the risk of coronavirus is.
“Essentially we’ve got two groups,” he said, “we’ve got countries which are in the sort of green category – they have very low occurrences – and then countries who are in the amber group – they will include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and quite a lot of others, which we will be publishing later today.
“The countries on the list mean that when you arrive there you won’t have restrictions.”
However, he pointed out that countries on the ‘green’ list which have a “very, very low incidence,” such as New Zealand, do still have restrictions in place over there.
“We thought it was right to include them because people may want to come here from New Zealand,” explained Schapps, “And that’s no particular threat to our hard-won gains.
He added: “But on the middle countries – those are places where we have reciprocal arrangements in place to make sure that if you go there, or if you come here, the arrangements are the same both ways round, in other words, you do not have to quarantine.”
The UK’s overseas territories will also be on the “complicated” list, confirmed the minister.
“It will also include… United Kingdom’s overseas territory spaces, including Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and many others,” he said.
“And then there are a few smaller places as well like the Vatican will be included, so, you know, countries within countries and that sort of thing.”
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The news will come as a welcome boost to Britons’ morale as well as the tourism industry.
“The most important thing is people who were hoping to get away perhaps for a summer holiday will have options when they see that list and people who need to travel for business,” said Schapps.
“I think importantly also the aviation industry, of course being first into this crisis and very slow to come out as well because of the need to have things like quarantines, of course, are welcoming that from the point of jobs, and the industry today as well.”
Tourists will need to fill out a passenger locator form even when travelling the countries on the list.
“That means it asks where you’ve been, and obviously where you’re coming back to,” detailed Schapps.
“It’s just common sense information, because, you know, the one thing we don’t want to do here is throw away, really hard-won gains… we don’t want to throw that away so it’s absolute precaution, whilst allowing these countries onto the list and allowing people to start moving again.”
The Transport Secretary warned that checks are in place and it’s a criminal offence not to provide accurate information.
Fines will be issued to those flouting the rules.
“The virus hasn’t gone away,” he said, “we know that people have worked very hard to get to where we’ve got now which is under control – but we’ve got further to go.”
Schapps confirmed that the government’s restriction on non-essential travel will be lifted tomorrow in line with the hospitality industry reopening.
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