As infection rates rise in some parts of Europe, it can be hard to keep track of which countries you have to quarantine for two weeks on return to the UK. Situations can feel so fast moving that what might feel like a 'safe' holiday destination one week, quickly becomes a riskier choice seven days later.
Health minister Helen Whately said the situation with all holiday destinations was ‘under review’, and countries were the situation was developing quickly would be removed from the 'safe list'. She told Sky news:
"We have to keep the situation under review and I think that is what the public would expect us to do. 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."
*It's worth noting the two-week quarantine rule aims to protect the United Kingdom against the spread of coronavirus, as opposed to being in place in an attempt to ruin holidays.
So, which countries do you currently have to quarantine on return from?
Thousands of holidays were thrown into chaos on 16th August when the UK government announced those flying in from France would have to quarantine for two weeks.
On 24th July, the British government introduced a two-week quarantine for those returning from Spain. A spike in covid-19 cases prompted the UK government to ask everyone flying into Britain from Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Island to stay at home for two weeks following their return.
The Foreign Office has also moved Spain to the 'red list', meaning all but necessary travel is being advised against.
On the of 20th August, Croatia's cases were such that they joined the quarantine travel list, meaning Brits would have to self-isolate on their return from the country. Croatia’s seven-day average of cases per 100,000 reached 27.4, higher than the UK Government’s ideal threshold of 20 cases per 100,000.
Austria and Trinidad and Tobago
At the same time as Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from the travel corridor list, meaning those arriving into the UK after 4am on 22 August had to self-isolate.
Countries that might be put on the quarantine list
Greece, meanwhile, is now at the highest number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic. Just yesterday [16 August], there were 216 cases, up from the previous high of 156 on April 21 - putting the number of cases per 100,000 at 13.8.
Gkikas Magiorkinis, assistant professor of hygiene and epidemiology at Athens University told The Guardian that Greece is “formally” in the midst of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The country, meanwhile, has also introduced a late night curfew on bars and restaurants in popular holiday destinations such as Mykonos, in a bid to slow the spread.
“The second wave of coronavirus is already here,” Kretschmer, a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said on Saturday, which is, er, less than encouraging.
While the 14-day rate of new cases in Germany per 100,000 is considerably lower than in the UK, the country's R rate also rose above 1 at the weekend. Up from 0.93 on Thursday, it hit 1.08 on Saturday, which health authorities have blamed on large gatherings and returning travellers.
Countries you don't have to quarantine on return from
The following countries, however, do not currently require quarantine on you return.
- Portugal - notably, Portugal joined the no-quarantine list for the first time on 20th August.
Countries already on the two-week quarantine list include:
- The US
- Much of Central or South America
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