Arrivals from Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas join 14-day quarantine list
Travellers arriving in the UK from Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas will have to quarantine for 14 days from this weekend.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said rising Covid-19 infection levels in the three countries mean they have been removed from the so-called travel corridors, which meant arrivals were exempt from self-isolating.
In a tweet, he said the measures would come into force in England from Saturday at 4am, echoing a statement made earlier by the Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.
Northern Ireland later confirmed the measures would also apply there from the same time on Saturday, while in Wales the restrictions come into force from midnight tonight.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also updated its travel advice to warn against all but essential trips to Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas.
Brunei and Malaysia have been added to the Government’s travel corridor list, following a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus, meaning arrivals from these countries no longer need to quarantine.
Figures released on Thursday show Belgium has suffered a consistent increase in cases in recent weeks, rising to 27.8 new cases per 100,000 people.
This towers over the UK’s latest rate of 8.4 per 100,000, and is higher than Spain’s 27.4 level around the time when the UK introduced travel restrictions there.
Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmes, was last week forced to put a halt to the nation’s Covid-19 exit plan by introducing drastic new social distancing measures in the hope of avoiding a new national lockdown.
Contacts outside every household were limited to the same five people for a month, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
In Andorra, new cases per week have increased five-fold since mid-July, while in The Bahamas the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 last week, up from 3.1 in the middle of last month.
The UK’s move to add Spain onto the quarantine list on July 26 sparked a diplomatic row with the nation and caught out holidaymakers who had already flown over, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
It also angered transport bosses who have called for increased testing to reduce the isolation period.
Luxembourg was added to the UK’s red list on July 31.
Mr Shapps said he “cannot rule out” other countries being included on the list, as officials keep overseas infection rates under close observation.
The Foreign Office says it keeps its own travel advice “under constant review”.