[UPDATED] UK list of quarantine-free destinations includes 59 countries

By Luke Barras-hill |

UK-departures-arrivals-quarantineAs expected, the UK government has published today (3 July) a ‘safe’ list of countries that will no longer be subject to arrivals quarantine rules.

Effective 10 July, passengers returning or visiting England from 59 destinations, including 14 British Overseas Territories, will not be required to self-isolate unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the past fortnight.

France, Spain, Germany and Italy are on the list as the Foreign Office loosens its advice on warning against all but essential travel, a policy in place since March.

However, a number of other countries including the US and China have not been included. [For the full list of countries and territories with quarantine exemptions, click here].

The Department of Transport says the list may be extended in due course further to discussions with the UK’s international partners. Information for travel to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be published by the devolved administrations. Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are exempt as they are part of the common travel area.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to lay out further detail today (3 July). Source: FCO.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had earlier today indicated in an interview with Sky News that the list would feature around 60 countries and overseas territories.

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. Exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review.

Reacting to the announcement, Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association – the voice of UK airports – said: “Airports have been calling for a risk-based approach to border controls, so today’s announcement is a welcome step forward for English airports.

“But it is imperative that a four-nation approach is adopted if we are to avoid putting further jobs at risk. We urge the devolved administrations to work with Government urgently to find a solution before the 10 July implementation date.

“This new system will enable passengers in England to book a summer holiday with confidence. Industry and government have worked hard to put in place a package of health measures to manage the risks of Covid-19 which will help ensure that passengers can travel safely. It is essential that these benefits are extended to those living in the other three nations of the union.

“But this isn’t only about summer holidays – it’s about a successful restart of the trade and commerce that make this country prosperous and successful. Businesses need connections to key UK trade partners in order to restart, rebuild and renew. Before this crisis the UK had the third largest aviation market in the world, bringing in £1 billion to UK GDP every week and supporting countless jobs in communities across the country. Government must step up urgently to support a sector which will struggle to re-establish itself, especially after this highly damaging and unnecessary quarantine period.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated earlier: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad 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.”

As reported, travel sector stakeholders, including those in travel retail, had been calling for ministers to lift the quarantine rules that came into force on 8 June.

The much-maligned policy came under more fire this week after subsequent delays to today’s announcement on changes to the policy, and confusion over a previously mooted plan for a limited number of ‘travel corridors’, which were shelved.



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