Holiday quarantine: Which countries are exempt and could future changes affect my booking?

21 August 2020, 12:21

Beach visitors go down stairs to the beach "Praia do Camilo"
Beach visitors go down stairs to the beach "Praia do Camilo". Picture: PA

By Megan White

Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago are the latest countries to be removed from the coronavirus safe travel list.

People arriving from those places after 4am on August 22 will have to self-isolate for 14 days after landing in the UK.

Meanwhile, Portugal has had its travel corridor restored, meaning that Brits will not have to quarantine on their return to the UK from the country.

But which other countries are on the list, and what happens if a country you have booked to visit has its travel corridor removed?

Which countries are on the quarantine list?

From 4am on Saturday, anyone returning from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Last week, France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Aruba and Turks and Caicos Islands were added to the list.

Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas have also had their air corridor removed, meaning travellers returning to the UK must self-isolate.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people travelling anywhere abroad this summer should keep their "eyes open" to the prospect of having to quarantine on return, pointing to his own experience of having been "caught out" when Spain was removed from the safe travel list while he was in the country last month.

Two-week quarantine rules for all UK arrivals came into force on June 8 to tackle the spread of coronavirus, with a number of countries added to and removed from the safe list - meaning self-isolation is not required - as the weeks have gone by.

Why were the latest countries added to the list?

Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) indicate the weekly Covid-19 incidence (cases) per 100,000 for Croatia increased from 10.4 on August 12 to 27.4 on August 19, a 164% rise.

Over the same period, Trinidad and Tobago saw a 232% increase, while Austria had a 93% rise between August 13 and August 20.

By comparison, the UK recorded 11.5 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to August 16.

Do I need to self-isolate?

Anyone returning to the UK from a country on the Foreign Office quarantine list is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

It applies to people returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the addition of Switzerland applies to people in Scotland.

I've got a holiday booked to a country which has been added to the quarantine list, will I get a refund?

The FCO advises British nationals against "all but essential travel" to the countries on the quarantine list.

When Spain was added to the quarantine list, LBC's Nick Ferrari asked the Independent's Travel Editor Simon Calder if people could get their money back if they chose not to travel.

He revealed a very mixed picture, with some travel companies offering refunds, while others offered vouchers.

Mr Calder said Tui "were very quick to say they understood people may not want to spend two weeks in quarantine, so therefore, if you are booked in the next two weeks, they will give you a full refund."

But other airlines, such as Ryanair, are saying "'Use it or lose it.'Your seat is there, if you don't want to use it, then that's just tough, we're keeping your money.'"

I've got a holiday booked to a country which is currently exempt, do I need to do anything?

People should continue to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice and their insurance policies before embarking on any overseas travel.

Ministers had previously warned that travel corridors could be closed if coronavirus rates escalated in other nations.

Travellers, even those from exempt destinations, are still required to complete a passenger locator form when they arrive in the UK.

Which countries are exempt from quarantine?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Anguilla

Antigua and Barbuda

Australia

Barbados

Bermuda

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba

British Antarctic Territory

British Indian Ocean Territory

British Virgin Islands

Brunei

Cayman Islands

the Channel Islands

Curaçao

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Dominica

Estonia

Falkland Islands

Faroe Islands

Fiji

Finland

French Polynesia

Gibraltar

Germany

Greece

Greenland

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

the Isle of Man

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Latvia

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Macao (Macau)

Malaysia

Mauritius

Montserrat

New Caledonia

New Zealand

Norway

Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands

Poland

Portugal (after 4am August 22)

Reunion

San Marino

Seychelles

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Korea

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

St Barthélemy

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Pierre and Miquelon

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Switzerland

Taiwan

Turkey

Vatican City State

Vietnam