Travellers from Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic must quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in the UK after 4am on Saturday following spikes in coronavirus infection rates.
The move, announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday evening, means people coming from these countries will legally have to go into isolation for a fortnight or they will be committing a criminal offence.
Scotland, which had already removed Switzerland from its safe travel list last week, is also applying quarantine measures to travellers from the Czech Republic and Jamaica arriving after 4am on Saturday.
Additionally, travellers returning to any UK country from Cuba after the same time will not have to isolate upon their return.
Here is what it will mean for holidaymakers:
– When will I have to self-isolate?
The new measures come into force from 4am on August 29, meaning that travellers returning to the UK from any of those destinations have around 36 hours to beat quarantine.
Anyone returning after that date will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
It applies to people returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr Shapps tweeted: “Quarantining on return from a non-Travel Corridor country is a legal requirement and you commit a criminal offence if you break that quarantine.
“Fines, as well as a criminal record can result.”
– Has anywhere been added to the safe travel list?
Passengers arriving in the UK from Cuba will no longer have to self-isolate because it has been added to the “travel corridor” list after being deemed as posing a lower infection risk.
But Mr Shapps tweeted: “Data also shows we can now add Cuba to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors.
“As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can (and do sometimes) change quickly. Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine on return.”
– Why is this happening?
Officials say the decision to add the three countries to the quarantine list was based on a “significant increase in confirmed cases”.
Mr Shapps said: “The decision on whether to add or remove a country is carefully made after research from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.
“A lead indicator is 20 cases per 100k over seven days but they take into account a wide range of factors, including level, rate & speed of change in confirmed cases.”
Data shows the latest seven-day rates in the countries stand at 22.0 cases per 100,000 people in Switzerland; 20.2 per 100,000 in the Czech Republic 20.8 per 100,000 in Jamaica.
Last Thursday, Jamaica’s rate was 4.3, meaning the 20.8 recorded on August 27 is equivalent to a 382% increase, said the DfT
– I’ve got a holiday booked to a country on the list, what should I do?
The Foreign Office advises British nationals against “all but essential travel” to the countries on the quarantine list.
Those who still decide to travel after August 29 will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
– What about employers whose employees have to quarantine?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has previously said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put on to sick pay.
He said that if someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating, “they can’t have penalties taken against them”.
“The Government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from these destinations who now will need to self-isolate”, the DfT said.