France, Germany and others could go back on the UK’s quarantine list - here's why

By Alex Nelson
Monday, 27th July 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Monday, 27th July 2020, 1:28 pm
The FCO is still advising against all but esential travel (Photo: Shutterstock)

While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still advises against all non-essential travel abroad, a list of 'travel corridors' highlights the countries and territories deemed 'safe' to visit.

These areas are exempt from the UK Government's quarantine rules.

Travellers returning home from anywhere that’s not on the list must self-isolate for 14 days to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

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But it's not a fixed system, as evidenced by Spain's recent reintroduction to the so-called 'red list'.

This was due to a spike in the number of coronavirus infections and the reimposition of lockdown measures on citizens, which has led to a fear of a 'second wave'.

So which other holiday destinations currently labelled 'safe' are at risk from having their quarantine exemptions taken away?

Which countries could join the UK’s quarantine list?

Currently, the UK has travel corridors with 70 countries, meaning that UK visitors can travel to and from these destinations without having to quarantine.

Initially, the UK reviewed the nations included on the 'safe' list every three weeks, but now a rolling review system could see countries removed from the list at short notice.

“We have to keep the situation under review and I think that is what the public would expect us to do,” junior health minister Helen Whately told Sky News on Monday (27 July).

“If we see rates going up in a country where at the moment there is no need to quarantine, if we see the rates going up, we would have to take action because we cannot take the risk of coronavirus being spread again across the UK,” she added.

According to Whately, Britain is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation in Germany and France, and continuously reviewing the situation in popular holiday destinations.

Other countries currently exempt from the UK's quarantine rules, which are seeing rises in the number of cases on a par with France and Germany, include Japan and Turkey. 

That's according to the 3-day rolling average number of confirmed new cases in those countries, although it has not been confirmed whether these countries are also being considered for reinstatement on the red list.

Why has Spain been taken off the travel corridors list?

Spain - one of the most popular holiday destinations among UK tourists - had originally been included on the travel corridors list.

But a spike in the number of coronavirus infections and the reimposition of lockdown measures on citizens had led to a fear of a 'second wave'.; the number of cases there has tripled in two weeks, with more than 900 new infections reported on Friday 24 July.

In response, the UK Government removed the country from its exemption.

Helen Whately told the BBC that bringing back quarantine rules for Spain visitors was the "right thing to do" as the UK's virus rate must be kept "right down" to avoid a second spike.

She urged anyone considering booking a holiday to "be mindful that we are still in the situation of a global pandemic.”