29 June 2020 22:34
The Government officially dropped its blanket coronavirus quarantine for arrivals today - as Greece dashed the hopes of holidaymakers by slapping a new two-week ban on British flights. But it came as Athens has extended its prohibition on UK flights to the country from July 1 until July 15, despite plans for it to feature on the UK's list of countries eligible for quarantine-free travel. But it is understood that the nation will not be on the initial list of green or amber nations allowed to couple-up with the UK under a traffic light system, as it is the only European nation with a higher rate of coronavirus infections than the UK. Under the traffic light system, drawn up by the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England and set to be in place by July 6, countries will be rated green, amber or red based on coronavirus infection levels, the reliability of official data and confidence in test and trace systems. Travel between 'green' and 'amber' countries will be quarantine-free, but passengers will have to fill in a 'locator form' to trace their movements.
'Green' countries are expected to include Austria, Croatia, Greece and Germany while 'Amber' countries include France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. It is hoped an agreement will be reached with Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks to add them to the list of 'green' countries. Eduardo Cabrita, the Portuguese home affairs minister, told the country's Diário de Notícia newspaper: 'There's no reason, according to all the comparative criteria, for the existence of any application of quarantine rules on return to the United Kingdom' The Home Secretary spoke out after travel companies reported their biggest Saturday sales ever as bargain hunters rushed to book before a 'traffic light system' is introduced this week He said: 'Today I can confirm that the government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. 'The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed a categorisation of countries and territories from which it is considered to present a lower risk from a public health perspective for passengers to enter the UK, without a requirement for 14 days' self-isolation. 'This has been informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country and, crucially, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory in the coming weeks of the disease in the country.
The plan to allow Brits go on holiday to the safest destinations without having to quarantine for 14 days is expected to come into force on July 6. But Speaking to Sky News' Ridge on Sunday today, Ms Patel said that there may be some heavy negotiations ahead before some countries allow UK residents to travel. 'You will have to, along with members of the public, listen to the advice, see what the government is saying in terms of the countries that we are going to be opening up with, who we are working with, the countries that my colleague the Transport Secretary (Grant Shapps) is in dialogue with right now. The Scottish First Minister lashed out at the Westminster Government over plans due to be released within days to link the UK with countries with low coronavirus rates. The country this afternoon unveiled zero coronavirus deaths for the fourth day in a row to keep its death toll at 2,482, with just five new infections reported. Scotland should consider making travellers from England self-isolate for 14 days as the country is on track to be 'Covid-free' by the end of September, top scientist suggests Scotland should consider quarantining travellers from England if the coronavirus crisis continues, one leading scientist has suggested. But admitted ministers must find the 'next best solution' and pointed to moves made in parts of the US to make travellers from badly-hit states self-isolate for two weeks. She added: 'I think Scotland is on track to eliminate coronavirus by the end of the summer by looking at the rate of the decrease [in new cases]. Currently, any overseas traveller entering Scotland – which shares its only land border with England – must self-isolate for 14 days or face a fine of up to £500. One Scottish government source told The Times that ministers were considering adding England into the list of affected countries. A Scottish Government spokesman told The Telegraph: 'To allow us to move out of lockdown it is critical that we keep transmission of the virus as low as possible – and that includes transmission from high to low risk areas. Ministers are examining at least one long-haul "air bridge" to Australia, although there are difficulties over transiting in stop-over countries which could bring a risk of spreading coronavirus. The Government is expected to introduce a traffic light system that will classify countries depending on the prevalence of coronavirus. Greece was expected to be part of the list, however the Greek Government has announced this afternoon it will not be allowing travellers from the UK until July 15 at the earliest. The list of permitted destinations will remain in flux if necessary, with what is described as a "strict handbrake mechanism", meaning any sudden outbreak of coronavirus in certain countries – or even in particular parts of a country – could require travellers to quarantine for two weeks upon returning to the UK. The initial list of safe countries has been drawn up by the Government's Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England, with nations assessed on the risk from COVID-19, the trajectory of the virus's spread, and an assessment of the reliability of data. Air bridge announcement imminent People will be able to travel freely to both green and amber countries, while travel to countries marked red will either not be allowed or will require quarantine. A Government spokesperson said: "Our public health measures at the border were put in place to manage the risk of imported cases and help prevent a second wave of the virus, and will continue to support our fight against coronavirus. Coronavirus: Grant Shapps confirms 'air corridors' so Brits can holiday abroad without 14-day quarantine Brits will be able to go on holiday abroad this summer after Grant Shapps confirmed the creation of "air corridors" to avoid the 14-day coronavirus quarantine period. The transport secretary said the Government will "shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border", which will allow passengers to be "exempted from self-isolation requirements". "Today I can confirm that the Government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK," Mr Shapps said. There will be a traffic light system for deciding which countries will be exempt from quarantine, decided by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer based on their relative levels of disease. The Cabinet minister said "a full list of the countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements later this week". My Statement to Parliament on exempting passengers from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances (i.e. International Travel Corridors or Air Corridors) on arrival in the UK. "We have been guided by the science and worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking are gradual and will minimise the risk of new Covid-19 cases while helping to open our travel and tourism sector."