Three countries removed and two added to UK travel exemptions list
Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas have been removed from the UK government’s current list of travel corridors.
People arriving in England from Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas are now required to self-isolate for two weeks following the removal of the countries from the UK government’s travel exemptions list.
Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in all three destinations, leading to ministers removing these from the current list of travel corridors.
There has been a consistent increase in COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Belgium since the middle of July 2020, with a four-fold increase in total cases over this time period. In Andorra, new cases per week have increased five-fold over the same time period. While in the Bahamas, the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 in early August 2020, up from 3.1 in mid-July 2020.
However, Brunei and Malaysia have been added to the UK government’s travel corridor list following a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus. From 11 August 2020, passengers arriving to England from these destinations will no longer need to self-isolate, so long as they haven’t been in or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival.
At the same time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas. Brunei and Malaysia are already exempt from the FCO’s global advisory against non-essential travel.
The UK government has made consistently clear that it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the COVID-19 virus, including removing countries from the travel corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.
People currently in Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas are encouraged to follow the local rules and check the FCO travel advice pages on the UK government‘s website for further information. The government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from these destinations who now will need to self-isolate.