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COVID-19

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule

The UK government will lift its 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement for arrivals in England from “lower risk countries” including Spain, Germany, France and Italy, but not Sweden. The restriction may continue to apply for those arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule
AFP

The date for quarantine to be lifted was initially scheduled to be July 6th but the UK’s Department for Transport announced on Thursday it had been pushed back to July 10th.

A full list of countries from which arrivals will no longer need to self-isolate was published on Friday (see below)

The list of nationals exempt from 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival in England included travellers from European countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium and Norway but not Portugal or Sweden given their recent spike in cases.

From July 10th anyone arriving in the UK by train, coach, ferry or air ill not have to enter quarantine for 14 days.

These countries will have “reciprocal arrangements” in place, meaning travellers from the UK will not have to quarantine on arrival there either. So travellers to and from France will not have to enter obligatory or voluntary self-isolation.

Some 59 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's blanket quarantine rules.

The UK’s Department for Transport also said that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “will set out their own approach”, meaning the quarantine lifting applied to England alone and that passengers arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there”.

The latest news from the Scottish press suggests that the 14-day quarantine will remain in place in England’s northerly neighbour after July 10th, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having been particularly critical of British PM Boris Johnson's approach to easing coronavirus lockdown measures. 

No decision has been made on whether Wales or Northern Ireland will follow England in lifting the 14-day quarantine on July 10th.

Currently travellers arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 (€1,100) if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, and a £480 (€532) fine in Scotland. 

The full list available here is:

Member comments

  1. “Train, coach, ferry or air” – what about folk who drive and use the Channel Tunnel? That doesn’t seem to be covered by the list.

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COVID-19

‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Though Covid has not been a nationwide problem in Switzerland during recent several months, the virus is circulating again and rates of contamination are expected to soar in the coming weeks.

'Over a million people' in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

While the new wave has not been expected to hit before fall or winter,  Swiss health officials now say 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the virus before then.

This is a large number, considering that a total of 3.7 million people in Switzerland got infected since the beginning of the pandemic on February 24th, 2020.

“More than 80,000 new contaminations per week” are expected in the next two months, according to Tanja Stadler, the former head of the Covid-19 Task Force — much more than during the past two summers, when the rate of infections slowed down.

At the moment, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reports 24,704 new cases in the past seven days — double of what it was in April.

“The numbers are expected to continue to rise. Note that most of infected people will not be tested, so the number of confirmed cases will be smaller on paper than in reality”, Stadler added.

Although according to FOPH, nearly all cases in Switzerland (99 percent) are caused by Omicron and its sub-variants, which are less severe that the original Covid viruses, “more vulnerable people are likely to end up in hospital, and long Covid cases are also likely to rise”, she said.

Stadler also noted that Omicron virus can’t be compared with the flu, “because we observe long-term consequences much more often during an infection with Omicron than during the flu. Also, Covid can trigger very large waves, even in summer, while large flu outbreaks are rare at this time of year”.

There is, however, some positive news.

“The most recent data shows that 97 percent of the adult population in Switzerland has antibodies against Covid thanks to vaccinations and previous infections”, Stadler said.

Also, “in the long term, things will stabilise. But in the years to come, there will probably be waves in the summer too”.

READ MORE: UPDATE: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

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