England lifts quarantine rules for passengers from ‘reduced risk’ countries


"Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.  (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
"Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses," said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

BRITAIN will lift its Covid-19 quarantine requirement for people arriving in England from countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy from July 10.

A full list of “50-plus countries” posing a “reduced risk” would be announced on Friday (3), the country’s transport ministry said.

Under the existing rules, travellers must self-isolate for 14 days on entering the country, something airlines and the travel industry have said will cost thousands of jobs and inflict further damage on the economy.

The government said it expected countries included on the quarantine-free list for England would reciprocate by relaxing their own travel restrictions.

The Foreign Office added that from July 4, it would be exempting low-risk countries from its advice warning against all but essential travel overseas.

“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

“Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.”

He added that the government will publish “a list of 50-plus countries and, if you add in the overseas territories, 60 something” that will be exempt from the quarantine rules.

Asked whether the US would be on a “red-list” of countries to which a 14-day quarantine period will apply, Shapps told the BBC: “I’m afraid it will be.”

“The US from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and from Europe so there isn’t a reciprocal arrangement in place.”

The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own powers over public health issues.

Britain said it would require all travellers, except those from the exempted countries, to provide their contact information including their travel history on arrival. People who have been in or transited through non-exempt countries will still have to self isolate for 14 days.

The Telegraph reported on Thursday the government would end coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holidays.

The UK would also lift a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations, the British territories including Bermuda and Gibraltar, and Turkey, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.

Britain is moving to reopen its pubs, restaurants and other businesses this weekend, signalling a gradual reopening of its economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, has warned people to maintain social distancing rules.

“Anyone who flouts social distancing and Covid-Secure rules is not only putting us all at risk but letting down those businesses and workers who have done so much to prepare for this new normal,” he said.