Quarantine reintroduced for Canary Islands ahead of ‘test to release’ scheme

10 December 2020, 18:36

From 4am on Saturday travellers entering the UK from the Canary Islands must self-isolate.
From 4am on Saturday travellers entering the UK from the Canary Islands must self-isolate. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

From 4am on Saturday, most travellers entering the UK from the Canary Islands must self-isolate, after the islands were removed from the travel corridors list.

Announcing the change on Twitter, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the removal was due to a rise in weekly cases and positive tests of the virus.

In the latest update to the quarantine list, Botswana and Saudi Arabia were added to the list, meaning travellers do not need to self-isolate when entering the UK.

The latest changes come ahead of the introduction of the new ‘Test to Release’ service on Tuesday.

This means all passengers entering the UK can “opt-in” to shorten the quarantine period to just five days if they receive a negative Covid-19 test result.

Currently, most travellers from countries not on the corridors list must self-isolate for 14 days.

Many firms recorded a surge in bookings for the Canary Islands when they were added to the travel corridors list in October.

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: "It's utterly devastating news for the thousands of British travellers who booked to go to the Canaries for Christmas and New Year.

"It's also a body blow for travel firms who'd seen an uplift in bookings for the winter after the Canaries were added to the travel corridor list.

"It now means thousands of refunds and lost bookings for a sector that needed the Canaries to help them recover."

From last weekend, in another change to the travel rules, high-value business travellers, sports stars and performing arts professionals were made exempt from the quarantine policy.

Mr Shapps said exemptions are "subject to specific criteria being met". These include trips that create or preserve at least 50 UK jobs.

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