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Ministers expected to announce travel quarantine changes tonight

Ministers are expected to make a decision tonight on whether to add Switzerland, the Czech Republic or Jamaica to the UK’s quarantine travel list.

The Government is holding its weekly review of travel measures today with an announcement likely to be made this evening on any changes. 

The UK has said that any country which records more than 20 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in a seven-day period will be subject to a travel ban and the 14 day self-isolation requirement for returning travellers.

Switzerland appears almost certain to be added to the so-called ‘red list’ because its case numbers are currently above the threshold, with a seven-day rate of 21.2. Scotland has already taken Switzerland off of its safe travel list. 

Meanwhile, there are growing fears the Czech Republic is at risk of quarantine after its case numbers increased. 

The latest statistics showed the seven-day rate in the Czech Republic is now at 19.4 cases per 100,000, up from 16 a week ago and only just below the threshold. 

Jamaica also appears to be dangerously close to the threshold with a seven day rate of 19.8 per 100,000.  

However, Italy is widely expected to remain on the UK Government’s safe travel list. 

The case rate in Italy stands at just 10.8 per 100,000 which suggests the country is very unlikely to face action in the coming weeks. 

Decisions on quarantine changes in recent weeks have been made by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Twitter on Thursday evenings.    

However, while Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic could soon be subject to the 14-day self-isolation requirement for travellers returning to the UK, Greece now appears likely to stay on the safe list for the moment.    

While the rate has ticked upwards in both countries, neither of them are near the UK’s threshold for banning non-essential travel. 

In Greece, the latest seven-day rate is 14.1 cases per 100,000 – roughly the same as a week ago (14.3), but up from where it was two weeks ago (10.1). 

The latest figures were calculated based on data collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

In Ireland, the seven-day rate is currently 14.8, while in the UK it is 11.1.

Last week the Government announced that Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago were being added to the ‘red list’. 

Announcements on travel restrictions have tended to be made my ministers towards the end of the week, with new measures coming into effect at 4am on Saturdays.  

The latest statistics came as Boris Johnson continued to face pressure to scrap the blanket quarantine policy.

The Future of Aviation Group, which includes 40 Tory MPs, has written to the PM urging him to end the current self-isolation requirement for people entering the UK from high risk countries. 

They believe testing on arrival at airports would enable the quarantine period to be slashed to less than a week. 

They have warned the current approach is harming businesses, telling the PM: ‘Without testing, we risk not only limiting leisure travel but also damaging our aspirations for a truly global Britain.’ 

More than 30 countries across the world already conduct testing at airports and MPs want to know why the UK cannot follow suit.

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