Turkey and Poland removed from quarantine exemption list

Air passenger numbers
Air passenger numbers - (Copyright PA Wire)
18:54pm, Thu 01 Oct 2020
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Turkey, Poland and three Caribbean islands have been removed from the UK’s quarantine exemption list, the Transport Secretary has said.

Grant Shapps announced on Thursday that travellers arriving from all five destinations after 4am on Saturday October 3 will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Along with Turkey and Poland, the islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have been removed from the Government’s list of safe travel corridors.

The seven-day rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Poland is now at 25.9, increasing from 15.6 in the previous week.

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba also reported 142.4 new cases per 100,000, unchanged from 142.4 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s rate has dropped to 12.9 cases, down from 14.2 in the week prior.

A seven-day rate of 20 new cases per 100,000 people is the threshold above which the UK Government considers triggering quarantine conditions.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it removed Turkey as the country’s health ministry had defined the number of new Covid-19 cases in a “different way” to the definition used by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The Joint Biosecurity Centre’s risk assessment for Turkey has since been “updated to reflect the likely impact of this on the data for incidence and test positivity rates”, the DfT said.

Despite Italy’s weekly rate increasing to 20.4 cases, up from 18.4, it was not mentioned in the announcement.

Figures have been calculated by the PA news agency, based on data collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Mr Shapps tweeted: “The latest data indicates we need to remove Turkey, Poland, and Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba from the #TravelCorridor list this week.

“This means if you arrive from these destinations from 4am Saturday October 3, you will need to self-isolate.

“You must self-isolate if you enter the UK from a non-exempt country – from tomorrow, we’re increasing the penalties for people who refuse to do so to a maximum of £10,000 for repeat offenders.”

He added: “Data from Poland shows that test positivity has nearly doubled increasing from 3.9% to 5.8% alongside a rapid increase in weekly cases, causing the Joint Biosecurity Centre to update their recommendation.”

Coronavirus – Sat Aug 22, 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

Digital advertising analyst Sarita Parto, who lives in Hammersmith, west London, had been due to travel to Krakow in Poland on Thursday evening, but decided to cancel her trip following the announcement.

The 29-year-old Australian, who is on a two-year work visa in the UK, told the PA news agency: “Straight away (after hearing the news) I felt my heart sink and I thought ‘there goes another trip cancelled’, and I did shed a tear.

“It’s not like anyone is telling me not to go, but I’d feel a bit guilty if I was there having a good time, while people were getting sick and dying.

“I’m trying to put my heartbreak into perspective.”

Ms Parto said it was her fifth trip to mainland Europe cancelled this year due to coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Tomasz Lis, who moved to the UK from Poland 23 years ago, said the new rules on quarantining when returning from his home country will cost him thousands of pounds.

The 43-year-old, from London, said his firm Bespoke Tour, a travel company offering tailored trips to Poland, will lose “a very substantial amount” of custom in what has already been a trying year.

“We haven’t really had any serious bookings since March… we managed a few during summer and now it’s all vanishing again,” Mr Lis told PA.

“It’s been an impossible year already and the Government would do much better by checking temperature at the airports, for instance, and test people who may have it rather than introduce those absurd rules.

Mr Lis is also a concert pianist and had to cancel a performance in Poland on Sunday due to the new rules, meaning he will lose £3,000 and the cost of his flights.

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