Exactly what the UK's latest quarantine rule changes mean

The UK government has announced the latest changes to its list of country quarantine exemptions.

Travelers entering England from mainland Portugal and Hungary will have to isolate themselves from Saturday, while those arriving from Sweden will no longer have to be quarantined once it has been added to the travel corridor list.

Here’s a guide to the latest changes:

– Which countries are not on the travel safe list for England?

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that Hungary, French Polynesia and Réunion, along with Portugal, but excluding the Azores and Madeira, will be removed from the travel corridor.

Travelers arriving in England from any of these destinations after 4am on a Saturday will need to isolate themselves for 14 days.

However, Mr Shapps also said that Sweden would be added to the exemption list, meaning people arriving in England on Saturday will no longer have to be quarantined.

– What about Scotland and Wales?

Travelers arriving in Scotland from Hungary and Reunion must be quarantined on arrival from Saturday at 4am, the Scottish government said.

At the same time, Sweden is added to the list of exempted countries.

Meanwhile, Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said they are also inserting a self-isolation rule for arrivals from Hungary and Réunion, lifting the requirement for passengers from Sweden.

He said the Welsh regulations will also come into effect on Saturday at 4am.

– And Northern Ireland?

The Northern Ireland Executive has also announced that, starting Saturday, people arriving from Portugal (excluding Madeira and the Azores), Hungary, French Polynesia and Réunion will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days.

They are also adding Sweden to their safe list from 4am on Saturday.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “There is no doubt that the situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing not only locally but also globally. As always, the safety of the people of Northern Ireland will always be my priority. “

– How come mainland Portugal is no longer on the exemption list, but the Azores and Madeira?

Mr Shapps said England will adopt a regional approach to its coronavirus quarantine policy for international arrivals.

In a statement to the Commons on Monday, Mr Shapps said islands can now be individually added to or removed from England’s quarantine-free list.

This means that island groups can be treated separately from their mainland – both in reducing and removing restrictions.

– Why has the approach to international travel changed?

The Joint Biosecurity Center (JBC) has been commissioned to rate the most popular island destinations for British tourists.

“Using improved data, we will now be able to pinpoint risks on some of the most popular islands, providing more flexibility to add or remove them – unlike on the mainland – as infection rates change, said Mr. Shapps.

“This development will boost the UK travel industry while maximizing public health protection and keeping the traveling public safe.”

– Can regions within a country’s mainland be added and removed?

The Department of Transportation said it is not safe to implement a full regional system for international travel corridors as there could be too much movement between regions within countries.

However, it said that when a region has natural boundaries – such as an island – the risks diminish, so changes will only apply to land with a clear boundary and “robust, reliable and internationally comparable data” will be available.

The island must also have direct flights to the UK, or the transport must have been through exempt areas.

– I have booked a holiday to a country that is not on the travel corridor list – what should I do?

The State Department discourages British citizens from making “anything but essential travel” to countries not declared travel corridors.

In England, those who still decide to travel to one of these countries must either isolate themselves 14 days after their return or risk a fine of up to £ 1,000, and up to £ 3,200 if they falsify the details on their contact form. .

Scotland is issuing a fixed fine of £ 480 for those not quarantined, while Wales will also fine travelers up to £ 1,000 if they refuse to abide by the rules.

– My holiday destination does not yet need self-insulation, will that change?

Those going to a country on the travel corridor list should keep a close eye on their respective government’s announcements to make sure that their destination status does not change while they are abroad.

Some tourists have had to pay hundreds of pounds to transfer to previous flights to return before the quarantine requirement takes effect.

The UK government and the decentralized administrations make their decisions based on the fluctuating transmission rates in every other country. Scotland has already warned that Gibraltar is on the verge of losing its travel-safe status.

– What about employers whose employees have to be quarantined after their trip?

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has previously said that no employee who follows quarantine escorts should be punished by employers, including sick pay.

He said that if someone abides by the law regarding quarantine and isolates himself, no sanctions can be imposed on him.

“The government is urging employers to understand those returning from these destinations, who will now have to isolate themselves,” he said.