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Cross border uncertainty

Scots await verdict as quarantine lifted in England

Holidays are back on but Scots must wait over quarantine rules

UPDATED: 6pm: Quarantine rules for travellers arriving into England will be lifted from next week, but the Scottish Government is still to decide whether to follow suit.

From 10 July passengers returning to or visiting England from certain destinations including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps issued a list of 59 countries with whom England will form “air bridges” or “travel corridors” (Full list below).

The devolved administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will need to follow the laws and guidance which applies there.

Although the UK government has powers over border controls, health protection issues on overseas travel must be supported by the devolved administrations because health is under their control.

Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation

– Grant Shapps

However, the decision by the Department for Transport to relax the quarantine rules in England will make it difficult for the devolved areas not to do the same, given that general travel restrictions, including the five-mile rule, are being eased in Scotland from today.

Passengers wishing to travel to Scotland from abroad could book a flight through an English airport and complete their journey north by car, train or bus.

Mr Shapps said in the Commons he was “very keen” to get Scotland on board, suggesting the First Minister was obstructing a four-nation decision. However, Nicola Sturgeon accused Mr Shapps of trying to politicise the issue and during her briefing said that handling of the matter was “shambolic”.

A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.

All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.

The exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England.

When planning holidays or overseas travel, people should therefore check the latest FCO travel advice on, including whether there are any self-isolation measures in place for their outbound or return journey.

Mr Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.”

The FCO continues to advise against ‘all but essential’ travel to all other countries and territories.

Although the restrictions are being lifted a YouGov poll has revealed that only 11% of Britons intend to holiday abroad this year.

The poll showed a regional divide, with 19% of Londoners planning on a foreign holiday, but only 8% of Scots. 

The Prime Minister is due to lead a press conference, ahead of businesses including pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas reopening in England on Saturday.

Countries in the list of travel corridors:

Andorra, Germany, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, Greece, Norway, Aruba, Greenland, Poland, Australia, Grenada, Réunion, Austria, Guadeloupe, San Marino, Bahamas, Hong Kong, Serbia, Barbados, Hungary, Seychelles, Belgium, Iceland, South Korea, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Jamaica, St Barthélemy, Curaçao, Japan, St Kitts and Nevis, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, St Lucia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, St Pierre and Miquelon, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Dominica, Macau, Taiwan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Mauritius, Turkey, Finland, Monaco, Vatican City, France, Netherlands, Vietnam, French Polynesia, New Caledonia

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