Eight destinations added and one removed from UK travel corridors list
The UAE, Qatar, Turks & Caicos islands, Laos, Iceland, Cambodia, Chile and Bahrain have been added to the UK’s travel corridors list following a decrease in cases of COVID-19.
From 14 November 2020, people arriving into the UK from all of Greece apart from Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos will need to self-isolate for two weeks as the country is removed from the UK government’s travel corridor list.
Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in mainland Greece, leading to UK Ministers removing it from the current list of travel corridors.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Turks & Caicos islands, Laos, Iceland, Cambodia, Chile and Bahrain have been added to the government’s travel corridor list following a decrease in risk from coronavirus in these countries.
From 14 November 2020, passengers arriving into the UK 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.
Following advice from the Chief Medical Officer, the travel ban introduced on 7 November 2020 on Denmark will also be extended for a further 14 days. British Nationals, visa holders and permanent residents returning to the UK directly or indirectly from Denmark will need to self-isolate along with all other members of their household for 14 days from the date they were last in Denmark.
National travel restrictions introduced on the 5 November 2020 as part of the national lockdown remain in place, meaning that everyone must stay at home unless travelling 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. Those in breach of the rules face penalties starting at £200 and rising to a maximum of £6,400.
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.
Data shows that there has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in Greece over the past two weeks with a 136 per cent increase in newly reported cases to 16,429 between 5 and 12 November 2020 from 6,965 between 22 and 29 October 2020. The Greek islands of Corfu, Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos and Kos have not seen as significant a growth in cases over recent weeks as the rest of Greece and therefore remain on the travel corridors list.
At the same time, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has reflected those updates in its travel advice.
People currently in mainland Greece are encouraged to follow the local rules and check the FCDO 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.
The UK government has also announced a limited exemption for a small number of Danish and Icelandic national football players to travel from the UK to Copenhagen and back, without the need to self-isolate, to take part in upcoming international football fixtures. This temporary and extremely limited exemption will allow the relevant players and essential staff support to be exempt from the new requirements and will help reduce any disruption for England’s up and coming Nations League fixtures.
COVID-19 has profoundly changed the nature of international travel. Travellers should always check the latest advice from the FCDO, given the potential for changing coronavirus infection rates to affect both the advice about travelling to other countries and rules about self-isolation on return.
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.
Penalties for those breaching the self-isolation rules when returning from non-exempt countries have increased from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences, mirroring penalties for those breaching self-isolation following a positive COVID test or contact from Test & Trace.