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Published on Thursday, July 2, 2020

Up to 75 countries expected to be on quarantine-free list







As many as 75 countries are expected to be on the Government's list of quarantine free countries when the long-awaited announcement finally comes.

Government sources say dozens of countries, many more than expected, will be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine from Monday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed earlier this week that the FCO is reviewing its blanket ban on non-essential travel and said details would follow later this week.

Instead of a compulsory 14-day quarantine for all UK arrivals, there will be a traffic light system with countries classified as green, amber or red based on the prevalence of coronavirus.

Only arrivals from countries in the red category would need to quarantine for 14 days. These are expected to include the US, Russia and Brazil.

The quarantine-free list is expected to include most of Europe, plus Thailand, Australia and New Zealand.


It is believed the list has been widened because it would have been a diplomatic nightmare setting up air bridges with specific countries and would have laid the UK Government open to legal challenge.


Former Transport Minsiter, Tory MP Theresa Villiers, said the travel industry had been 'damaged' by the controversial quarantine, which came into force on June 8.


She told the BBC: "So far this policy has caused damage to the travel industry, and inconvenience for holidaymakers, without any evidence of it working effectively to cut Covid risk."

Since the scheme was put in place, the UK Border Force has handed out only two penalties and there have been no known fines issued by police.


Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said since the Government confirmed the blanket ban and quarantine would be lifted there has been a spike in enquiries from companies keen to get travelling and trading again.


"But business travel won't resume overnight and half of all jobs across the sector are now at risk. Business travel contributes £220 billion a year to UK GDP and it's essential that the Government extends the furlough scheme for the sector until the end of this year to help sustain this vital enabler for our economy," he added.
 


 

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