Quarantine lifted, air bridges introduced and Foreign Office travel warnings changed
Update – Friday 3 July
Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has set out.
The new measures will come into force from 10 July 2020, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.
A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.
The list of countries will be published later today.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.
The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.
International business travel has been given a boost with the news that the UK Government is to suspend the 14-day quarantine requirement for a series of countries, introducing instead “air-bridge” arrangements while the Foreign Office warning against all but essential international travel will be lifted for countries deemed safe.
The full list of countries is still to be confirmed. People will be allowed to travel to the named countries, without having to quarantine on return, from 6 July.
The list of “safe” countries is being finalised by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England. Countries will be ranked as green, amber or red based on an assessment of risk from Covid-19.
Business travellers will be able to travel freely to both green and amber countries.
The decision to relax quarantine requirements follows pressure from Focus Travel Partnership members, the Business Travel Association as well as airlines and other industry stakeholders.
A 14-day quarantine will stay in place for anyone arriving in the UK from countries not rated green or amber, with passengers required to self-isolate at a declared address, potentially enforceable with a £1,000 fine.
Clive Wratten, Chief Executive of the Business Travel Association and Abby Penston, Chief Executive of the Focus Travel Partnership gave us their reactions to the latest information, and called for further clarity as soon as possible: