Steve July 28, 2020

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A holiday in Spain now means two weeks of quarantine for those arriving back in the UK.

But which other countries can you visit and what do you need to do when you return?

Where can I go without quarantining when I get back?

Those entering the UK from the common travel area – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – were always exempt from the quarantine rules.

They have been joined by passengers from dozens more countries, who are no longer required to self-isolate.

More than 50 countries – including many popular holiday spots – now pose ”a reduced risk” from coronavirus, the government says.

The list focuses on countries in Europe, island nations around the world including the Caribbean, and countries further east – including Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

Arrivals are exempt from quarantine if they arrive in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, 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, Réunion, San Marino, Seychelles, South Korea, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam.

From 28 July 2020 passengers arriving from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadine will not need to self-isolate.

The 14 British Overseas Territories are also exempt.

The government has been advising against all but essential travel since March, but this advice has been lifted for destinations that ”no longer pose an unacceptably high risk” for British travellers.

Health measures like quarantine are set by each UK nation separately.

Wales and Northern Ireland have introduced quarantine exemptions for the same countries as England. Scotland is also allowing exemptions, and has updated its own list of countries with which it is now allowing travel without quarantine.

What are the rules for Spain?

Spain was removed from the list of exempt countries following “a significant change over the last week in both the level and pace” of coronavirus cases, the government said.

People already in Spain can stay for the remainder of their holiday, but must self-isolate for two weeks after returning.

The rules apply to travellers arriving in the UK from anywhere in Spain – including the Canary and Balearic Islands.

For those with holidays coming up, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to any part of Spain, despite calls for the islands to be exempt from quarantine rules.

Who decides which countries are on the quarantine list?

Advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBS) helps the government decide whether to change countries on the exemption list. The JBS looks at range of things, including:

  • an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious
  • trends in incidence and deaths
  • transmission status
  • information on a country’s testing capacity

In Spain, the Covid-19 infection rate is currently 39.4 cases per 100,000, according to the European Union’s European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This compares with the UK’s rate of 14.6.

Covid-19 cases per 100,000

14-day cumulative number in selected countries

Spain’s rate is on the rise and is now comparable with Sweden and Portugal, where rates are falling. In Greece, another popular UK holiday destination, the rate is currently 3.7 per 100,000 people.

Which other countries are not on the list?

You will still have to isolate for 14 days if you arrive back in the UK from Canada, the US, much of Central or South America, and some countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Travellers from Sweden, Portugal, Russia and anywhere else not on the list will also have to quarantine.

The list will be kept under review, and the government says it ”will not hesitate” to remove a country if conditions worsen there, as it has done with Spain.

Equally, further restrictions may be placed on UK travellers if its infection rate rises.

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What about restrictions at my destination?

Travellers leaving the UK could still face restrictions – including quarantine – when they arrive in one of the exempted countries.

About half the countries and territories on the list have restrictions for arriving UK visitors. These include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda requires Britons arriving by air to submit a negative coronavirus test from the past 7 days
  • New Zealand has barred almost all foreign travellers from visiting, while Australia requires an exemption visa if you are not a resident or a citizen
  • South Korea imposes a 14-day quarantine
  • Visitors to Iceland can either choose to pay for a test or go into quarantine
  • You are not allowed to enter Cyprus if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days. This may change on 1 August, the Cypriot government has indicated.

But these restrictions may change.

from the BBC

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