Tens of thousands of would-be holidaymakers have been left disappointed – and facing a knotty insurance claim process – after the government announced it would reintroduce a 14-day quarantine for travellers returning from Cyprus and Lithuania starting Sunday (November 1), after doing the same for Italy, Vatican City and San Marino a fortnight ago.
Over the past couple of months, the British government has also reimposed quarantine restrictions for travellers returning from Turkey, Poland, Iceland, mainland Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland, Jamaica, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Spain, Belgium and the Bahamas.
Travellers returning from any of those countries must provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days (or risk a fine of up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland). During those two weeks, they cannot go to work, school or any public place, nor have visitors – except for essential support.
So which badly-afflicted countries could be next? Shapps suggested on August 14 that any country recording more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period could lead to quarantine measures being reintroduced.
‘With France and these other countries, Netherlands and elsewhere, the numbers have now just gone above the threshold, which is about 20 cases per 100,000, but measured on a seven-day rolling average,’ Shapps told the BBC.
At that point, the cumulative number of cases per 100,000 over 14 days (a different but comparable measure) stood at 34 in France and 42 in the Netherlands, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Most European nations now have figures far, far above these levels (and many have since been removed).
Looking at updated figures, countries still on the travel-corridor list that appear to have numbers approaching those of the UK right now include Ireland (297) and Germany (156). Greece’s cumulative number of cases has now reached 90 per 100,000 – suggesting the mainland and other Greek islands could soon join the seven already on the UK’s ‘quarantine’ list. (The UK figure far exceeds any of these, now at 424.)
Another indication as to future removals, meanwhile, is whether Scotland or Wales have acted first in taking a country off their own travel-corridor list (as Scotland did, for example, in the case of Spain). For a couple of months now, anyone flying from Greece to Scotland must now also quarantine. This suggests England may soon follow suit.
As for the other countries, if those trajectories continue, then it is possible the government could bring back a travel quarantine. So basically: think very carefully (and look hard at the stats) before you book a foreign holiday in the weeks and months to come.