Press "Enter" to skip to content

Coronavirus UK: Bahamas, Belgium, Andorra quarantine to end

The Bahamas, Andorra and Belgium will be taken off the UK’s quarantine-exemption list, it has been announced. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people arriving in Britain from the three nations will have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.

In a tweet he said: ‘Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas from our list of coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN.

‘If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.’ 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has designated all Belgium as a ‘code orange’ for the new coronavirus, meaning the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants is 20 or above for two weeks. 

Separately, Malaysia and Brunei have been added to the UK’s safe list.

Speaking about the changes to the quarantine list, Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘The governments of all for nations have agreed to these changes based on a shared understanding of the data.

‘This is another important step in our efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and adhering to the quarantine is a vital aspect of this.

‘Imposing quarantine requirements on those arriving from another country is not a decision made lightly – but suppressing the virus and protecting public health remains our priority.’

Belgium was expected to be added to the list, following a steady rise in coronavirus infections. 

The decision will cause problems for thousands of people who travel each day on the Eurostar between Brussels and London, as well as those on flights connecting the two countries.

It comes after the number of new cases in Belgium doubled in a week following earlier success in bringing the virus under control in the country.

In Wales, the restrictions come into force from midnight tonight August 6.

At the same time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice to warn against all but essential trips to Andorra, Belgium and The Bahamas.

Brunei and Malaysia have been added to the Government’s travel corridor list, following a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus, meaning arrivals from these countries no longer need to quarantine.

Figures released on Thursday show Belgium has suffered a consistent increase in cases in recent weeks, rising to 27.8 new cases per 100,000 people.

This towers over the UK’s latest rate of 8.4 per 100,000, and is higher than Spain’s 27.4 level around the time when the UK introduced travel restrictions there.

Belgium’s prime minister, Sophie Wilmes, was last week forced to put a halt to the nation’s Covid-19 exit plan by introducing drastic new social distancing measures in the hope of avoiding a new national lockdown.

Contacts outside every household were limited to the same five people for a month, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

In Andorra, new cases per week have increased five-fold since mid-July, while in The Bahamas the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 last week, up from 3.1 in the middle of last month.

It comes after warnings that France could also be added to the list.  

Thousands of holidays could be at risk as France is ‘highly likely’ to be added to the 14-day quarantine list following a dramatic rise in coronavirus infections, according to travel experts.

Tourists returning to the UK could soon be facing a 14 days in self-isolation amid speculation that France will be added to the Foreign Office’s quarantine list. 

The number of daily coronavirus cases in the country has soared in recent days, with 1,695 new infections being recorded just yesterday, as it battles a second wave of Covid-19. 

It is thought that if the decision goes ahead holidaymakers may be forced to cancel their trips in order to avoid the two-week quarantine on their return. 

Paul Charles, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: ‘Unless France takes further significant steps to reduce its case numbers, then it’s highly likely to be added later next week as the increase must be causing worries in Westminster. 

‘There are several hundred thousand British tourists in France at the moment so the government must give plenty of warning if it does change its advice later next week.’ 

It comes after France’s scientific committee stated earlier this week that the situation was ‘under control, but precarious. We could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control.’ 

It added: ‘The short term future of the pandemic mainly lies in the hands of the population. It is highly likely that we will experience a second epidemic wave this autumn or winter.’ 

The statement said the virus ‘has recently been circulating more actively, with an increased loss of distancing and barrier measures’ since France emerged from its strict two-month lockdown in May.

‘The balance is fragile and we can change course at any time to a less controlled scenario like in Spain for example,’ it said.      

The uptick in infections in France has been bolstered by fresh coronavirus testing troubles as dozens of labs closed to allow staff a summer holiday despite signs that a second wave is building.

Doctors have warned that the vacation crunch is just part of a larger web of failures in France’s testing strategy which was described earlier this week by the government’s own virus advisory panel as disorganized and ‘insufficient’.

‘First, there is a lack of workers to do the testing. If we don’t ask all the health workers to be available by mobilizing all of them, there are just not enough people,’ emergency services doctor Christophe Prudhomme at a hospital in Bobigny, Paris. 

‘And then it’s a matter of organization,’ he said, urging regional health agencies ‘to organize testing so that it’s not the citizen who has to take his phone and try to call seven or eight labs in order to get an appointment that will take place only next week.’

It is worrying news for the country which saw its hospitals nearly drown with Covid-19 patients in the first wave – in part due to inadequate testing.

The country has already lost more than 30,300 lives to the pandemic and yesterday alone recorded 1,695 new infections. 

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *