Luxembourg follows Spain onto England's quarantine list from midnight

Decision follows sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in tiny Duchy

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Thursday 30 July 2020 20:05 BST
Coronavirus in numbers

A 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving in England from Luxembourg is to be imposed from midnight tonight, after the tiny Duchy became the second European state after Spain to be removed from the exemption list amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus from the continent.

The renewed controls on Luxembourg were formally announced late on Thursday as the Foreign Office updated its advice against all but essential travel to the country.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet: “Unfortunately the latest Luxembourg data shows an increase in COVID19 cases meaning the country will be removed from the travel exemptions list. Anyone arriving to any part of the UK from midnight tonight will therefore need to quarantine.”

The move was taken on advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre about increased levels of Covid-19 and brings England in line with Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister imposed a self-isolation requirement on arrivals from Luxembourg earlier in the day. The other devolved administrations have taken the same step.

Luxembourg was among the countries given the all-clear for UK travellers earlier this month, after successfully bringing its first wave under control to the point that it reported no deaths between 24 May and 12 July and saw daily new cases remain in single figures through most of June.

But recent weeks have seen a sharp upturn in infections, with daily new cases hitting 163 on 16 July.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control today put the cumulative number of cases per 100,000 population over the previous 14 days at 240 – by far the worst figure in Europe in a country of around 625,000 inhabitants.

Although relatively few travellers fly direct from Luxembourg’s single international airport to the UK, those returning via France or Belgium will also be required to observe the quarantine. They will be expected to reveal details of their recent visit when filling out a passenger locator form on arrival in the UK.

Scottish government justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This decision is based on the latest available data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and it gives another clear indication that the virus is active and still spreading.

“We have always maintained that we are closely monitoring the pandemic situation in all countries and we will impose quarantine requirements as necessary in a bid to protect the public.

“This virus is showing a resurgence in areas and it should not be forgotten how deadly it remains. Our priority to is suppress the virus, prevent it from being transmitted and protecting public health.”

The Department for Transport said: “The government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country and not self-isolating becomes too high.

“The government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from Luxembourg who now will need to self-isolate.”

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