UK’s COVID-19 travel corridor list loses three additional destinations
As a result of an increase in COVID-19 cases, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica have been removed from the travel corridor list by the UK government.
People arriving into England from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica as of 29 August 2020 are now required to self-isolate for two weeks following the removal of the countries from the UK travel exemptions list by the UK government.
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 COVID-19 in these countries, leading to UK Ministers removing them from the current list of travel corridors.
There has been a consistent increase in the weekly incidence (case) rate of COVID-19 in Switzerland over the past four weeks, with a 19 per cent increase in weekly incidence (cases) per 100,000 between the 20 and 27 August 2020, from 18.5 on the 20 August to 22.0 on the 27 August 2020.
Data has also shown that there has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in the Czech Republic over the past three weeks, with a 25 per cent increase from 1,723 between the 14 and 20 August 2020 to 2,153 between the 21 and 27 August 2020.
In addition, data from Jamaica shows that the weekly incidence (cases) per 100,000 has increased from 4.3 on 20 August to 20.8 on 27 August 2020. This equates to a 382 per cent increase.
This rise in numbers has resulted in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updating its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland.
However, Cuba has been added to the UK government’s travel corridor list following a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus. From 29 August 2020, passengers arriving to England from Cuba 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. Cuba is already exempt from the FCO’s global advisory against non-essential international travel.
Infections from COVID-19 are on the rise across Europe. The UK government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, which includes 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.
This means that holidaymakers may find that they will need to self isolate on return to the UK and are advised to consider the implications of self-isolation on them and their families before making travel plans.
People currently in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica are encouraged to follow the local rules and check the FCO travel advice pages for further information. The UK government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from these destinations who now will need to self-isolate.