Simon Calder discusses border closures and travel
Holidays have become even more chaotic as travel bans are implemented. A raft of countries are blocking UK flights from entering in a bid to limit the spread of covid. Countless flights have been axed and travel thrown into turmoil over what is usually a key jet-setting period.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updates its travel advice regularly to help British travellers.
This is the latest guidance for France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.
France is one of the countries which has banned UK flights.
The FCDO stated: “France have announced they will be restricting travel from the UK from 24:00 (CET) on Sunday, 20 December, for a duration of 48 hours.
“This travel restriction will apply to air, car, ferry and train passengers. If you were due to travel to France please contact your travel operator. Further updates will be published when they are available.
“Please check our advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.”
The country is also not on the travel corridor list so even if Britons could travel there they would still have to quarantine for 10 days on their return.
A covid test is also needed to enter France and arrivals by sea and air routes will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight.
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Spain has not yet blocked the UK.
However, the country has said it is ramping up controls at Spanish airports and ports.
A negative covid test is required for entry into Spain, the Balearics and the Canaries and checks will be more rigorously carried out at points of entry into the country.
All of Spain is absent from the travel corridor list so quarantine restrictions apply on return to England.
The Foreign Office’s general advice for Spain is: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
Travellers to Spain must complete an online Health Control Form.
Italy has banned UK flights.
FCDO advice detailed: “On December 20, the Italian government announced the immediate suspension of all flights between the UK and Italy.
“You should contact your travel provider for more information. According to the Ministry of Health, anyone who has been in the UK in the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Italy.”
Holidaymakers currently in Italy are also required to take action.
“Anyone already in Italy who has been in the UK in the 14 days before December 20, must report to their local health authorities and take a COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test. These measures will remain in place until January 6,” explained the FCDO.
Italy is also not on England’s travel corridor list so quarantine restrictions apply.
Italy requires a negative covid test for entry and for travellers to complete a self-declaration from the Ministry of Interior.
Greece has not yet blocked UK flights.
Mainland Greece and most of its islands are not on the travel corridor list but a number of islands are deemed ‘safe’.
The existing FCDO advice is: “The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to Greece based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
“The FCDO is not advising against travel to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.”
Anyone travelling to Greece needs a negative covid test and to fill out the Passenger Locator Form.
Portugal has banned UK flights.
The FCDO explained: “Portugal has announced they will be restricting passenger travel to/from the UK, regardless of nationality, with the exception of Portuguese citizens and those legally resident in Portugal from 24:00 (GMT) on Sunday, December 20.
“If you were due to travel to Portugal please contact your travel operator. Further updates will be published when they are available. Please check our advice on things to consider, and be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.”
Mainland Portugal is not on the travel corridor list but the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores are on the list of countries and territories where self-isolation is not required on return to the UK.
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