UK revises COVID-19 travel lists, fears rising cases

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England and Scotland have revised their COVID-19 travel rules, placing greater restrictions on travellers arriving from Spain’s Balearic Islands over fears of rising case numbers.

The Department of Transport in London said after a “sharp rise in cases”, the decision had been taken to move the Balearic Islands as well as the British Virgin Islands to England’s “amber” list — the middle-ranking for Covid-19 incidence.

The Scottish government, which sets its own transport policy, announced it would be making the same changes.

Under the “amber” restrictions, which will come into force after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on July 19, travellers will have to isolate themselves at home when they arrive in the UK.

However, changes that come into effect on the same day mean those who have had both Covid vaccines as part of the UK’s innoculation campaign will not have to isolate after they return.

The Spanish islands, which include Ibiza, Menorca, Majorca and Formentera were only moved to the UK’s green list at the end of June.

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“Unfortunately when we put them on the green watch list from then we’ve seen the rates double, and also the rates of positivity of these tests double, meaning that we’re going to have to move quickly.” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Revisions in restrictions were also announced for Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Croatia which have been moved to the “green” watch list, the lowest ranking for Covid cases, which means travellers do not have to isolate in the UK but still have to test for Covid before and after arrival.

Cuba, Indonesia, Myanmar and Sierra Leone will be added to the “red” list from July 19, with the strictest travel measures imposed, meaning those who have departed from or transited through the countries will be refused entry.

British and Irish citizens or UK residents must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days when returning from red-list countries.