Luxembourg becomes second country to be removed from UK travel exemptions

30 July 2020, 18:43

File photo: Adolphe Bridge In Luxembourg
File photo: Adolphe Bridge In Luxembourg. Picture: Getty

By Megan White

People arriving in the UK from Luxembourg will have to self-isolate for 14 days as restrictions are reimposed in the European country after a "tenfold increase" in cases.

A rise in Covid-19 cases means Luxembourg has been taken off the list of countries exempt from quarantine, following a similar decision about Spain on July 25.

The measures will come into force from midnight on Friday, having been announced only hours before.

The small landlocked European country has seen a "consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population since the end of June, with over a tenfold increase in total cases over this time period".

The decision was announced earlier on Thursday by the Scottish Government, but was later extended to the rest of the UK.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated its travel advice for Luxembourg to advise against all but essential travel to the country.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had warned earlier on Thursday that new countries could be added to the quarantine list in the coming days.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: "Unfortunately the latest Luxembourg data shows an increase in #COVID19 cases meaning the country will be removed from the travel exemptions list.

"Anyone arriving to any part of the UK from midnight tonight will therefore need to quarantine."

The DfT said: "Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Luxembourg.

"There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Luxembourg since the end of June, with over a tenfold increase in total cases over this time period.

"As a result, ministers took the decision to remove Luxembourg from the travel corridor list of countries from which people arriving in the UK do not have to self-isolate."

It added: "The Government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country and not self-isolating becomes too high."

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "This decision is based on the latest available data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and it gives another clear indication that the virus is active and still spreading.

"We have always maintained that we are closely monitoring the pandemic situation in all countries and we will impose quarantine requirements as necessary in a bid to protect the public.

"This virus is showing a resurgence in areas and it should not be forgotten how deadly it remains.

"Our priority to is suppress the virus, prevent it from being transmitted and protecting public health."

Mr Hancock told LBC's Nick Ferrari on Thursday that ministers are looking at ways to reduce the 14-day self-isolation period, possibly by the use of multiple tests, amid pressure from the tourism industry.

But he said ministers are constantly considering whether to add countries to the quarantine list and when pressed if new nations could be added in the next few days, he replied: "Yes."

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Mr Hancock also hinted that the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for will be increased to 10 days in England.

The Health Secretary told LBC's Nick Ferrari that the Government would be "guided by the science" over the length of time people with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate for, but he revealed there would be an announcement on the matter on Thursday.

Speaking to LBC Mr Hancock warned, "we can see a second wave of the virus rising in Europe."

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam is expected to announce on Thursday that the period will increase from the current rule of seven days.

Mr Hancock warned that a new spike in Covid-19 cases is "clearly" beginning to emerge in Europe as he said "we've got to do everything" to prevent it reaching the UK's shores.

He hinted that Prof Van-Tam will announce the change for the self-isolation period for those with the key symptoms of a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell.

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