Italy loses quarantine exemption status
Italy, San Marino and Vatican City State have lost their exemptions from the UK’s quarantine requirements for international arrivals, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
The new rules come into force at 4am on Sunday.
The Greek island of Crete will be added to the exemption list for people arriving in England as the risk to public health from those returning from there “has decreased to an acceptable level”, the DfT said.
Italy recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 7,332.
This brings its seven-day rate of cases per 100,000 people to 64.
The UK’s case rate currently stands at 166.
Figures have been calculated by the PA news agency based on data collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
A rate of 20 is the threshold above which the Government considers triggering quarantine conditions.
The removal of Italy’s exemption is a further blow to the UK’s travel industry, as it was one of its last big markets without a quarantine requirement for returning holidaymakers.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “The Government’s travel corridors system has all but collapsed, with most destinations now removed from the list and holidaymakers with trips booked to Italy for half-term facing the potentially lengthy and stressful process of trying to claw their money back from their airline or travel provider.”
He added: “The travel industry is in dire need of urgent targeted support if it is to survive the winter months.”
Last week Italy introduced compulsory coronavirus testing for arriving UK visitors.
Arrivals from European countries such as the UK, France and Spain must provide evidence of a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.
Visitors unable to provide proof of a negative result at the border have to take a test in Italy.
On Wednesday, Mark Tanzer, chief executive of travel trade organisation Abta, expressed fears that more travel firms could go bust in just weeks due to the pandemic.
He said at least 20 travel companies with UK operations have already collapsed since March.