Turkey, Poland and three Caribbean islands are the latest to be added to the UK’s quarantine list, in response to rising coronavirus infection rates.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the news on the evening of 1 October, at the UK government’s review of the travel corridor list.
The list of approved travel corridors, which included more than 70 countries when it was first released in July, is reviewed by the government every week, with changes made in response to current Covid-19 infection rates.
Why were the destinations removed?
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Turkey, Poland and the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have all been removed from the list of safe travel corridors, and instead added to the quarantine list.
The change comes after the seven day rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Poland reached 25.6, increasing from 15.6 in the week previous.
Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba also reported 142.4 new cases per 100,000, which was unchanged from 142.4 in the week before.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s rate has dropped to just 12.9 cases from 14.2 in the seven days previous.
A seven day rate of 20 new cases per 100,000 people is the threshold above which the UK government considers imposing quarantine restrictions.
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) said Turkey was removed from the safe list as the country’s health minister had defined the number of new coronavirus 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.
In contrast to Turkey, Italy managed to escape quarantine restrictions this week despite its weekly rate increasing to 20.4 cases, up from 18.4.
What does it mean for travellers?
The removal of these five destinations from the list of travel corridors means that quarantine restrictions now apply.
As such, any travellers arriving in the UK from these destinations after 4am on Saturday 3 October will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Mr Shapps warned that travellers must self-isolate if they enter the UK from a non-exempt country, with penalties for flouting the rule increasing from 2 October, up to a maximum of £10,000 for repeat offenders.
More than 60 countries and territories still remain on the travel corridor list, allowing people to return to the UK without having to quarantine.
However, many of these countries have their own coronavirus restrictions in place for UK travellers, meaning it is still possible you will have to self-isolate on arrival at your destination.