Trips to the Pantheon in Rome now come with a side of quarantine
Trips to the Pantheon in Rome now come with a side of quarantine

Travel corridors: Italy removed from quarantine-free list in latest government update

Rules come into effect from 4am on Sunday

Helen Coffey@LenniCoffey
Thursday 15 October 2020 20:20
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Italy has been removed from the government’s list of “travel corridors” from where arrivals don’t have to quarantine.

Those entering the UK from there, along with Vatican City and San Marino, will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks.

The rules come into effect at 4am on Sunday 18 October, a day later than has typically been the case in previous updates to the list.

The transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “TRAVEL CORRIDOR UPDATE: We are REMOVING ITALY, Vatican City state and San Marino from the #TravelCorridor list.

“However, note that the implementation date is moved to 4am on SUNDAY 18 October and applies UK wide, if you arrive from these destinations you will need to self-isolate.”

The three destinations have also been removed from the Foreign Office’s (FCDO) list of “low risk” countries that are exempt from its blanket advice against all non-essential travel.

The FCDO has axed Martinique from its list too, but has added the Caribbean island of Anguilla, which is also on the travel corridors list.

The Greek island of Crete has been added to the “low risk” list and the list of travel corridors, meaning travellers arriving into the UK from there will no longer have to quarantine from 4am on 18 October.

Mr Shapps added: “ALSO THIS WEEK, the whole of the UK is now aligned with our advice around all of the Greek islands.”

The Italian Tourist Board has expressed “disappointment” at the Department for Transport’s decision.

Flavio Zappacosta, manager of the Italian government’s tourist board for the UK and Ireland, said: “It is, of course, very disappointing  to learn of the announcement that Italy has been removed from the UK’s safe travel list today. 

“Our cities, coasts, countryside and major attractions are world class and we have  implemented robust protocols to keep our visitors safe so this is a very disappointing development for tourism in Italy and will surely delay our recovery. 

“Tourism is one of our most important industries and key to the nation’s recovery from the terrible impact of Covid-19. 

“We would like to see testing at UK airports implemented as soon as possible as this could help alleviate the quarantine issue and establish consumer confidence once more in visiting such a popular destination as Italy.”

The UK’s Covid-19 rate for the last seven days is 165.6 cases per 100,000 residents, two and a half times that of Italy’s modest 64.4.

Italy has already started trialling rapid testing at the airport for all departing passengers in order to help boost customer confidence and reduce the risks of travelling.

Meanwhile, both Mr Shapps and Dido Harding, the head of NHS Test and Trace, stated this week that even if the UK introduces testing for arrivals, it won’t replace the need for travellers to quarantine.

“I think testing will be able to help us, but I doubt it will be a silver bullet to fighting the virus and changing the need for us to be very cautious with people travelling from very high-risk environments,” said Baroness Harding.

“A negative test at a point in time only proves that you’re not infectious at this point in time. And if you’ve been travelling from a high-risk environment, I would suspect that the clinicians advise that some form of quarantine is still going to be necessary.”

Heathrow airport has been calling for the government to introduce airport testing in order to reduce the need for quarantine for the past six months.

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