A full list of countries UK citizens are permitted to travel to will be released later today.
The UK government has announced that citizens will be permitted to travel to Germany, France, Spain and Italy without the need to self-isolate on their return from next week onwards.
From next Friday (10 July), passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which the government says pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England.
Countries on that list will be exempt from the requirement for passengers arriving into England to self-isolate for 14 days, although they will still be required to provide contact information on their arrival in the country.
The government said its expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the UK to self-isolate.
This means that people travelling to and from the selected countries will not be required to self-isolate on arrival in those countries or on their return home, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.
The government says 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.
Importantly, the UK government clarified that the Devolved Administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which apply in those countries.
Currently, while the UK government’s advice on non-essential travel does not apply to Ireland or Northern Ireland, passengers travelling to Ireland from the UK are asked to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, including Irish citizens coming home.
Despite concerns expressed by public health officials about the risk posed by international travel, a similar list of countries Irish citizens are permitted to travel to is expected to be announced by the Irish government next week.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK has also updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel to exempt certain destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk of Covid-19.
The granting of permission for UK citizens to travel to certain countries comes after a risk assessment was conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer.
The assessment was said to draw on a range of factors, including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.
Commenting on the lifting of travel restrictions in the UK, Transport Secretary Grant 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 entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”