Germany and Sweden removed from UK travel corridors list
Despite travel for holidays not currently being permitted in England as a result of new lockdown restrictions, inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridors approach.
Germany and Sweden have been removed from the list of UK travel corridors, having been assessed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre as posing a heightened infection risk. Passengers arriving into the UK from Germany and Sweden from 7 November 2020 will need to self-isolate for two weeks before then following domestic rules.
The UK government’s travel corridors policy remains a critical part of its COVID-19 response as it mitigates the risk of importing infections from abroad; this has not changed following the introduction of new restrictions in England.
As a result of a second wave of COVID-19 now impacting the UK, new national restrictions introduced by the UK government for England on 5 November 2020 mean that it is no longer permitted to travel for holidays, with those in breach of the rules facing penalties starting at £200 and increasing to a maximum of £6,400.
Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridors approach; returning passengers must also follow the UK’s domestic regulations.
Anyone arriving into the UK from all destinations on the government’s travel corridors list will need to abide by all applicable domestic rules. Passengers travelling from a non-exempt country, territory or region would also be required to self-isolate for two weeks.
In England, everyone must stay at home, and may leave only for a very limited set of reasons, including for work or education. This means that people can no longer travel to take holidays, or travel internationally – unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice to reflect this.
Fixed penalties starting at £200 will be given to those found not following the rules, but these fines will double for subsequent offences, up to a maximum of £6,400.
Germany and Sweden have been removed from the UK government’s travel corridors list following an increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus. 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 in both destinations, leading to UK 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 Germany over the past four weeks, with a 75 per cent increase in total cases over this time period. In Sweden, new cases per week have increased by 34 per cent over the same time period.
A range of factors are taken into account when deciding to remove a country from the exemption list, including the continued increase of coronavirus within a country, the numbers of new cases, information on a country’s testing capacity, testing regime and test positivity rate and potential trajectory of the disease in the coming weeks.
People currently in Germany and Sweden are encouraged to finish their trip as usual, following the local rules and checking the FCDO travel advice pages for further information.
All travellers, including those from exempt destinations, will still be required to show a complete passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions. This is critical in being able to track the virus in case of any local outbreaks.
Penalties for those breaching the self-isolation rules when travelling from non-exempt countries are £1,000 for first breach, with increased penalties for subsequent breaches, up to £10,000. These penalties mirror penalties for those breaching self-isolation following a positive COVID-19 test or contact from Test & Trace.