UK to end quarantine for travellers from ‘low-risk’ countries

UK to end quarantine for travellers from ‘low-risk’ countries

LONDON — The British government said Friday it is scrapping a 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals from a number of countries deemed “lower risk” for the coronavirus, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

The change takes effect July 10, just over a month after the U.K. began requiring international arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks. The full list of exempted countries will be announced later Friday, the government said. It is considered unlikely the United States, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, will be among them.

On Saturday, the government will also exempt several countries from its advice against overseas travel, meaning U.K. tourists can once again head abroad on vacation.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes are “good news for British people and great news for British businesses.” But he stressed that the government could re-impose quarantine restrictions “in countries we are reconnecting with.”

The changes announced apply only to England, a sign of friction between Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s central government and semi-autonomous administrations in the rest of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been particularly critical of Johnson’s approach to easing coronavirus lockdown measures and has taken a more cautious approach.

The British government also made the announcement without securing reciprocal agreements that British travellers will not face quarantines. The Department for Transport said its “expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the U.K. to self-isolate.”

Britain has the highest COVID-19 toll in Europe, with almost 44,000 confirmed deaths. The country is gradually emerging from a nationwide lockdown imposed in March, with bars, restaurants and hairdressers allowed to reopen in England on Saturday.

The European Union re-opened its borders this week to people from 14 countries including Canada, Japan, South Korea and Morocco — but not the U.S.

Britain left the EU on Jan. 31 but continues to be bound by its rules during a transition period that lasts until the end of the year.

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samson Cree Nation reeling after 10 year old-boy-shot; 13-year-old charged of manslaughter

‘Don’t give up, keep praying, we will get through this’

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

330 km walk for charity stopping in Sylvan Lake

Chris Sadleir, 45, is walking from Calgary to Edmonton to raise money for the Lung Association

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read