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Cuba removed and Switzerland, Jamaica and Czech Republic added to UK quarantine list

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The Government announced this afternoon that anyone returning to the UK from Switzerland, Jamaica and the Czech Republic will need to quarantine for 14 days.

(Switzerland had already been added to the list for residents of Scotland last week.)

The quarantine requirement will kick in from 4am on Saturday morning.   As I have written before, it would arguably have been more sensible to impose quarantine from 4am on Sunday morning, allowing those whose holidays end on Saturday to return on their scheduled flights, trains and ferries.

Cuba is removed from the list, although it is not a practical alternative for anyone who had previously been considering a short break in Prague!

The following countries had already been added to the quarantine list over the previous three weeks:

  • Andorra
  • Aruba
  • Austria
  • The Bahamas
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • France
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos

These countries will also be added to the Foreign Office ‘do not travel’ list (click here), which is usually the trigger for being to abandon your holiday plans and make a successful travel insurance claim.

The official ‘travel corridor’ list – which is shrinking by the week – is on this page of the Government website.

We await news of a potential UK to New York travel corridor, which is now under discussion according to press reports. The coronavirus infection rate in New York is now below the average UK level.

In terms of countries which may be added next week or so, Greece is top of the list of countries which attract a lot of UK visitors and are also seeing a rapid rise in infections.

Comments (52)

  • Oli says:

    It is interesting that most people holiday Saturday to Saturday and not Saturday to Sunday for example. I do not understand why.
    We are advertising an house for rent in France on Airbnb and it’s funny that about half of our guests rent Saturday to Saturday. What are people doing with their Sundays?

    • Optimus Prime says:

      Unpacking, laundry, etc.

    • Andrew says:

      Making space for the next guests to have a week-long holiday, too? Otherwise if you did Saturday-Sunday the next people would have to start their break on a Sunday.

      Obviously breaks that don’t last seven nights are available(!) but it seems to be the default length of time for a holiday just like the default at work is for people book an hour-long meeting in my diary (or multiples thereof…)

    • Rich says:

      Harks back to the days of package holidays & charter flights, I guess. Flights run on a Saturday, accommodation changeover on a Saturday. Easy – everybody knows where they stand, and you sell in blocks of 1 week.

  • Mikeact says:

    It’s all very well, opening up, maybe, London/New York but I’m still not sure why? What this is telling the US population that no matter what, wherever you live, hot spot or not…just catch an internal to New York and then on to London. Likewise, from London to anywhere you like in the US. If this is the case, you may as well just open up the whole country..full stop.

    • J says:

      If the UK effectively opens up to the US, other countries might decide to impose additional restrictions on the UK.

  • Peter K says:

    “As I have written before, it would arguably have been more sensible to impose quarantine from 4am on Sunday morning”.

    I have given this thought and wonder if it is because of human nature. If you make people spend all day rushing to get home they will not mingle with the locals as much. If you give them an extra 24hrs on top some will make the most of it going to bars/clubs as much as possible.
    If you make the decision on a Friday rather than a Thursday then it’s harder for travel companies to rebook those on the now cancelled Saturday holidays.

    • Andrew says:

      Absolutely – it’s best that once the decision is made that a country isn’t safe, people have to travel home ASAP and not continue to get infected.

      • Rob says:

        We’re talking about infection rates of 20 per 100,000 people for a disease which is now approaching a zero mortality rate in the UK. Is this really keeping things in perspective?

        How many people do you think are on ventilators in the whole of the UK? 10,000? 5,000? 1,000? 500? No, 64 – https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/healthcare

        • Peter K says:

          But surely you want to keep on that low infection/death rate trajectory. That’s the whole point.
          It doesn’t take much looking into what’s happening in Europe to see what happens if you don’t.

          • Stu N says:

            The intention was always to keep infections to a rate that wouldn’t overwhelm the NHS, not get it to zero. Even Australia and New Zealand who have everything on their side in terms of economic development, healthcare and geography haven’t managed that.

            COVID-19 is out there – the world is getting better at identifying cases early, tracing contacts to limit spread, managing symptoms and treating serious ones in hospital to minimise morbidity and mortality. We are also getting better at identifying and using levers to control the spread of the virus in a way that keeps a modicum of normality in society without having a return to the position we were in back in March/ April.

            We need to accept that infection rates will rise a bit as lockdown measures ease, and get used to targeted measures to manage any local outbreaks.

          • Blindman says:

            At last someone who thinks the same as me!

            Well said.

            Just wish the other 90% of the population would hurry up and get this.

          • Andrew says:

            And what exactly is happening in Europe (and the UK to some extent)? Cases are rising as everyone tests more. Deaths and hospital admissions are going down everywhere. So far nothing we’ve done to open up has been able to change that despite complaints from the doom merchants. At some point we’re going to have to accept that the “just wait 2 weeks” warning isn’t going to come true.

            As Rob says we have to keep this in perspective.

          • Joe says:

            Well, we in Switzerland have just been banned, and we are getting about a death a day. That’s as low as the UK (adjusting for population). Makes you think we are just better at testing.

            We have very low hospitalization rates too. Really the decision is complete nonsense.

            You couldn’t make it up.

          • RWJ says:

            Exactly. Let’s keep that ventilation rate down.

        • Stu N says:

          We are self isolating after being in France for a couple of weeks and not making it back before the cut-off. To be fair, we had decided not to bother even trying if rules changed when we were away.

          Me, my partner and – if you believe Simon Calder – 400,000 other people are now spending 14 days confined to barracks. The difference in infection rates between UK and France is – at most – 20 cases per 100,000 so quarantine measures will save less than 100 additional cases in UK, all things being equal.

          It’s totally disproportionate to the risks and it’s killing the travel industry. I’m now in the position for the first time in a decade that I have no forward bookings for any travel outside the UK because I’m not prepared to self-isolate again. It’s been worth it for a main annual holiday but a weekend break? No chance.
          The only way forward has to be a double-test approach. Test on arrival, and test after 4-5 days and if you’re double clean you’re free. Until then, I cant be bothered with overseas travel. It’s going to be a long winter…

          • John says:

            It’s 20 per day, so 1120 additional cases

            Anyway it’s not about that but about the risk that any given person is infected

          • Stu N says:

            Sorry, typo. Should be “less than 1000”. Whatever, in excess of 399,000 people having to quarantine to save a tiny rounding error in imported cases. It’s nonsense.

        • Andrew says:

          Yes exactly! Let’s keep it at this low level and not let it rise again with infections from other countries.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Didn’t realise it only came from abroad.

            Is their a UK strain that only infects foreigners too?

        • Yan says:

          That is not the point as there were fewer ventilated patients when the peak of SARS-CoV-2 importations into the UK occurred in March.

          The scientific rationale behind a threshold-based quarantine rule is to limit the number of importations by deterring rather than banning foreign travel (consider it a privilege during a pandemic). It can take weeks to pick up community transmission chains (and a few more to reflect in ICU numbers) if test and contact tracing and self-isolation compliance are inefficient as 6 months ago and now

          • Riccatti says:

            Two facts:
            1. Self-isolation compliance and contact tracing are inefficient — or we would’ve been done with this 3-4 weeks from March 24th.
            2. Self-isolation and quarantine bingo are destroying the productivity, output and economy.

            The “scientific rationale” is very much alike trading on a technical analysis indicator — eg. 7D moving average. That’s is a very adequate model for a stock price! or R number. This is all very much like doing an invasive surgery with a piece of bronze metal sharpened by a road stone…

        • Ian M says:

          Things like perspective any form of sense are long since dead.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      There will come a point – if it hasn’t already -when diminishing returns kick in and people will just shrug their shoulders and carry on with holidays. Dom and Stan never bothered to follow government advice or quarantine either…

  • ChrisC says:

    I read on another more US based blog about the UK-JFK corridor

    Thinking there is that it looks possible in theory but it’s likely to get caught up in US Federal-State relations and their differing political leaderships and it would be seen as benefiting a state with a governor of the opposing party getting something that benefits them that other states can’t

  • Jan M says:

    Anyone know a good website that has the 7-day average infection rate per 100,000 citizens that the government uses? Lots of different stats flying around but can’t find this one. I am temporarily based in Germany. Would want to rush back and spend some time back home for a bit if it looks like Germany will be added back to the list…

    • Peter K says:

      If you are looking at a county by county rate then the BBC news website has a page to help.

    • David D says:

      My better half has been tracking this since February, her stats have Germany at 11.09 per 100k as a 7 day rate currently as of figures updated overnight. Currently, she is tracking a limited number of countries mainly based on places we have forward bookings or interests in.

      • Stoneman says:

        Well I am off to the Black Forest for two weeks on Wednesday so by the looks of it, Germany should be okay if 20 per 100k is the threshold for triggering a qurantine. Personally not bothered about qurantining on return, more concerned with the Germans not letting me in without a qurantine period,

        • John says:

          German criteria are different, they removed Luxembourg already, and out of Belgium, only Brussels and Antwerp are considered high risk

          • Stoneman says:

            I see the Germans are conforming to the stereotype of being sensible by pursuing the regional approach.

    • Geoff says:

      https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea

      Those are the 14 day rolling averages done per day. Germany and the UK are still around 20 and have been consistently for the past month, versus for example Spain which is now close to 200. It is the 14 day rolling average updated daily but not all countries update daily. Also the criteria is not ’20’ but velocity, and also relative to how well we are doing in the U.K [very well at the moment] as Burgess notes above.

    • MadeUpName says:

      Follow @PPaulCharles on Twitter. He does a good daily update. Someone else on here recommended him.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Stick to ECDC https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea if it hits 30 it’s likely to come off the list.

  • Phillip says:

    Granted, Greece has seen a rise in infections but it has not hit 20 cases per 100,000 on any single day let alone a 7 day average! Unless they are looking at a localised quarantine (aka Mykonos) then I’m not sure how the scaremongering is justified!

    I find the Updated WHO website useful with detailed country numbers.

    https://covid19.who.int/

    Click on the individual country map and you can see both daily updates and weekly figures.

  • Riccatti says:

    Bingo!

  • Adam says:

    Any views on why there are plenty of other counties below the magical 20/100k number which aren’t on the list?

    • Adam says:

      *countries

      • Phillip says:

        I guess it also depends on how easily people can actually enter said countries! If the numbers are rising and entry into the country is not subject to any form of testing, random or otherwise, that may result in quicker action. Some countries require negative test results, others perform them randomly, and others just allow people in because they need them!

        And of course there is politics and the media looking for headlines!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Mostly political like all of this. there may be some consideration of how much they are actually testing and deaths.