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'France and Spain have been going the wrong way', Transport Secretary says
21 August 2020, 09:51
Grant Shapps said it is unlikely that Spain and France will be re-added to the Government's travel corridor list anytime soon.
The Transport Secretary's words come just hours after he announced Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed from the list of safe countries people can travel to without going into quarantine following fears they could be experiencing a second wave of Covid-19.
Previously France and Spain were both added to the list of unsafe countries which caused a rush of Brits attempting to return home without having to quarantine.
"So just to put numbers on this, we respond when there are about 20 cases per 100,000 of the population measured over a seven-day rolling average. So 20 is the figure to bear in mind."
He added: "I think that the last that I saw of Spain it was up in the 40s and 50s so a long way off that, and France, who... quarantined from last weekend, I'm afraid to say we were right to do that because we've seen the cases continue to carry on up in France as well.
"And in order to put a country back in to the travel corridor, what we say is it needs to stay below that number for a couple of cycles. So a cycle is two weeks long for coronavirus."
Setting out the changes to countries included on the travel corridor list on Thursday Mr Shapps said a range of factors were taken into account when the Joint Biosecurity Centre and ministers make their assessments.
They include: estimated prevalence of Covid-19 in a country; the level and rate of change in the incidence of confirmed positive cases; the extent of testing in a country, the testing regime and test positivity; the extent to which cases can be accounted for by a contained outbreak as opposed to more general transmission in the community; government actions and "other relevant epidemiological information".
Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago have been removed from the air corridor list, meaning people arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday will have to quarantine, but Portugal has been added.
Mr Shapps, who had to quarantine for 14 days after a holiday in Spain, said: "As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly.
"Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)"