Foreign holidays given green light as government eases quarantine restrictions

People sunbathe on Playa de Palma beach in Mallorca, as Spain officially reopens the borders amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain June 21, 2020. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo
Summer vacations to Spain are back on after the government eased quarantine restrictions (Picture: Reuters)

 

Brits will be able to go on foreign holidays without having to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK.

Summer vacations abroad have been given the green light after ministers confirmed the requirement to quarantine will be scrapped for a number of popular destinations, including France, Greece and Spain.

The government confirmed it will revise the measures at a review on Monday.

In place of the quarantine arrangements will be a traffic light system, with officials placing countries into green, amber and red categories based on the prevalence of coronavirus within each nation’s borders.

Passengers, wearing protective face masks, walk through the international arrivals hall after arriving at Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport in London, U.K., on Monday, June 8, 2020. London Heathrow may??need to cut??one-third of its 7,000 employees if the U.K. government doesnt indicate soon when it plans to relax the quarantine rule, the airports chief executive officer,??John Holland-Kaye, said in a CityAM podcast on Monday. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tevellers from all countries had been forced to self-isolate (Picture: Getty Images)

 

Only passengers arriving into the UK from nations in the red category, where the spread of coronavirus is deemed to be high, will be told to self-isolate for two weeks.

Travellers will, however, still have to hand over the address they plan to reside at on their return, no matter which country they are coming back from.

As well as allowing holidays abroad to take place this summer, the government said the changes would provide a ‘vital lifeline for UK travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry’.

A government spokeswoman said: ‘Our public health measures at the border were put in place to manage the risk of imported cases and help prevent a second wave of the virus, and will continue to support our fight against coronavirus.

‘Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world – giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business.

‘But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge, and this system will enable us to take swift action to reintroduce self-isolation measures if new outbreaks occur overseas.’

The island of Paros is one of the most famous Greek islands of the Aegean Sea and it belongs to the Cyclades islands archipelago.
Quarantine for trips to Greece will be dropped (Picture: Getty)

 

The quarantine measures have come in for heavy criticism since they were brought in this month.

Since June 8, all passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – have been required to go into self-isolation for 14 days at a declared address when they arrive in the UK.

People who fail to comply can be fined £1,000 in England, and police are allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ to make sure they follow the rules.

A full list of the low-risk countries in the green and amber categories, where people will be able to enter the UK from without being required to self-isolate, is due to be published next week.

It is expected restriction-free travel will be able to resume with those countries possibly as soon as July 6, with France, Spain and Greece first in line, government sources confirmed.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England, has been responsible for categorising the countries it believes would be safe for people to enter the UK from without needing to self-isolate.

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