Quarantine-free holidays given green light – these are the countries you can travel to

·5 min read
Passengers will be able to travel according to a new 'traffic light' system - EPA
Passengers will be able to travel according to a new 'traffic light' system - EPA
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Portugal, Canada and the US have been excluded from a list of 74 countries and overseas territories that English holidaymakers can visit without quarantine, as the Government scrambles to agree more deals.

China, Brazil, Sweden and Russia have also been left off the list under a “traffic light” system that allows holidaymakers to travel abroad without having to self-isolate for two weeks on their return.

Among the “green” and “amber” rated countries where English holidaymakers can fly from next Friday without quarantine on either leg of their journey are Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands.

Greece, which Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, suggested only on Friday morning was not on the list, has been included despite its suspension of flights from the UK until July 15.

Some of the countries will continue to impose restrictions on arrivals despite being on the list but the Government is hoping to negotiate future quarantine-free “air corridors” with them on both legs. Those expected to maintain  restrictions include Australia and New Zealand.

The full list of 59 countries and territories

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

Also exempted from quarantine are the 14 British territories including Gibraltar, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and the Falklands Islands.

Ireland is also exempt as part of the Common Travel Area, but it is expected to impose quarantine on Britons from July 9 when it opens its borders to a select group of overseas countries.

Singapore, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Martinique, Canada, Wallis and Futuna, and St Vincent were all in a provisional Foreign Office list but are missing from the final version of travel corridors.

On Saturday, the Foreign Office will update its advice against all but essential overseas travel for all of the 74 countries and territories.

Foreign holidays given the go ahead, technically

It technically means that foreign holidays will be possible for the first time in more than three months from Saturday, although people would need to spend at least six days at their destination to avoid the need to quarantine when landing back in England.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the delay until Friday next week to lift quarantine - four days later than expected - was necessary to give airports the time to prepare systems for streaming passengers from quarantine and non-quarantined countries.

People resident in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will still have to self-isolate on their return from “amber” rated countries under the terms of the deal.

It followed a row that delayed the Government’s announcement amid complaints by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, over the lack of consultation and concerns about the risk of importing coronavirus.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Shapps said the US was not included as "they have got very high numbers of infections", despite the threat of a backlash from the Trump administration. The US already bans people entering the country from the UK and Europe.

Portugal, where the Algarve is the third most popular destination for Britons in southern Europe, was excluded due to an outbreak of coronavirus in and around Lisbon, as is Sweden, which has a Covid-19 rate seven times that of the UK’s.

The Department for Transport said risk assessments were conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre in consultation with Public Health England and the chief medical officer, considering each country's prevalence of coronavirus, the number of new cases and the potential trajectory of the disease.

Approved destinations pose "a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens" but the list will be kept "under constant review", the DfT said. 

It means new destinations could be added before the next review date later this month, or removed if there is a major surge in coronavirus, which would lead to the immediate reintroduction of quarantine for returning holidaymakers.

The requirement for everyone arriving into the UK - bar a handful of exemptions - to self-isolate for 14 days was introduced on June 8. It was met with fierce criticism over the impact on the UK's travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

Passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in England. Anyone self-isolating because they have arrived or returned from a green or amber country before July 10 will be able to stop from that date.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency and member of the Quash Quarantine campaign group, said: "There are still several obstacles to be overcome, namely ensuring Scotland support the planned changes. But this is a welcome boost for the travel industry at such a critical time."

A spokesman for trade association Airlines UK said: "There's no doubt quarantine has had a devastating impact on our industry and whilst it's welcome the Government has removed its blanket ban, we would encourage rigour and science is applied in all future decisions surrounding our businesses."

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