UK confirms US will be on 'red-list' of banned travel destinations over high rate of infections

Transport minister says US has ‘got very high numbers of infections’

Gino Spocchia
Friday 03 July 2020 09:37 BST
English holidaymakers given green light to travel abroad from Saturday

Passengers arriving into England from the United States will not be exempted from quarantine rules, Britain’s transport minister Grant Shapps has said.

Asked on Friday whether the United States would be on a ‘red-list’ of countries to which a 14-day quarantine period will apply, Mr Shapps said: “I’m afraid it will be.”

He told the BBC: “The US from a very early stage banned flights from the UK and from Europe so there isn’t a reciprocal arrangement in place”.

"They have got very high numbers of infections, which is why they are not on the list today," added Mr Schapps.

England is relaxing its quarantine rules for around 50 other countries from 10 July, with people from France, Italy, Germany and Spain exempt from quarantine rules upon arrival in England.

Mr Schapps added that it’s “hard to know” how many Covid-19 cases had been prevented from entering the UK thanks to quarantine rules imposed over the past month on new arrivals.

“We have worked incredibly hard as a country and everyone knows it because they’ve been staying at home and following all this guidance to get on top of this virus”, he told the BBC.

“The chief medical officer made it very clear – the time to bring in a quarantine was when that had happened, when levels had gone done, and then prevent it from coming back again.”

The European Union had announced on Tuesday that it would also exclude the US from a list of countries permitted to enter the bloc this summer.

In contrast to most of Europe, the US has seen more than 2.7 million cases and more than 130,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Britain’s foreign office is set to announce the full list of exempt countries posing “a reduced risk” from Covid-19 later on Friday.

Destinations are set to be marked either red, amber or green in accordance with the associated risk from coronavirus.

The UK is also set to ease advice against all but essential travel to the countries listed on Friday.

Mr Schapps added on Friday that restrictions on travellers from Greece would also not be lifted.

"Greece won't be on the list in the first place because Greece have said that on July 15 that's their next review of their own systems," he told the BBC.

"Reciprocity can't come before July 15 for Greece and that is a matter for Greece themselves."

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