Switzerland is looking an increasingly certain candidate for the re-imposition of quarantine for travellers to the UK.
The figures for 25 August, just released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), show 10 days of increase in the number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a two-week spell. At 39, it is 75 per cent higher than the UK’s score of 22.5.
The British government uses a different measure – new cases in the past seven days – but the two tend to move together.
Scotland has already re-imposed quarantine on travellers from Switzerland. In addition, anyone using Basel airport is subject to two weeks of self-isolation because it lies in French territory. France was placed on the no-go list earlier this month.
Greece has also shown a small increase in cases, though the rate of growth in past days has been flattening. Turkey is showing a similar profile.
Portugal, which was on the no-go list for over five months and opened up to British holidaymakers only on Saturday, had shown a surge in new cases, but is now in decline once again.
Spain, which was ruled off-limits by the UK on 26 July, is continuing to see soaring numbers in the north of the country, with the official ECDC showing the Balearic islands also recording high levels of new cases.
The third component of the Iberian peninsula, Gibraltar, is on a par with Spain and could well find itself added to the no-go list – with mandatory quarantine for arrivals, and the Foreign Office warning against travel.
The Czech Republic and Iceland have also shown increases, and are also considered possible targets for re-imposition of quarantine.
In the opposite direction, Bulgaria is showing a continuous decline and is thought to be a candidate for quarantine exemption.
Abta, the travel association, is urging the government to adopt a regionalised approach to quarantine rules and Foreign Office travel advice. Without it, says Abta, “it is difficult to see how the UK can reopen travel to critical trade partners, including the US, in the foreseeable future”.
There is also concern about the entire continent of Africa being regarded as too high risk, given nations such as Kenya and Tunisia are showing low scores compared with most European countries.
The travel industry veteran Paul Goldstein, co-owner of Kicheche Safari Camps in Kenya, said: ‘The entire African continent has been daubed with the government’s broad and wildly inaccurate Covid brush.
“The British policy of not allowing anyone to travel there is farcical as well as throwing millions of healthy Kenyans into penury. It will also have a lasting effect on wildlife as animals need the tourist dollar and policing eyes of safari-goers.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies