London: People arriving in England from France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba will have to self-isolate for 14 days after the six regions were removed from the UK’s safe coronavirus travel corridors list of countries on Friday.
The requirement to spend 14 days in self-isolation will apply to those returning to the UK after 4 am local time on Saturday.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said that the moves follows the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England (PHE) indicating a significant change in COVID-19 risk in all six destinations.
“The government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries from the travel corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high,” the DfT said in a statement.
“The government is urging employers to be understanding of those returning from these destinations who now will need to self-isolate and has invested over 9 billion pounds to strengthen the welfare safety net, helping to ensure access for those in need,” it added.
According to officials, data from France shows that over the past week, there has been a 66 per cent increase in newly reported cases and a 52 per cent increase in weekly incidence rate per 100,000 population, indicating a sharp rise in infections.
There are an estimated 160,000 British travellers and holidaymakers currently in France, a popular destination as a neighbouring country. The early morning Saturday deadline induced a rush to ports and airports on Friday by passengers desperate to avoid the 14-day quarantine.
Officials also report an increase in newly reported cases in the Netherlands over the past four weeks, with a 52 per cent increase in newly reported cases between August 7 and 13.
Over the past week, there has been a 273 per cent increase in newly reported cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, and 1,106 per cent increase in newly reported cases on the island of Aruba.
The archipelago of Malta, another popular travel destination from Britain, has reportedly had a 105 per cent increase in newly reported cases over the past seven days.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to all six regions in line with the change in the exemptions list.
People in Britain planning to travel overseas during what is currently a summer holiday period have been warned by the government to be mindful that disruption is possible in order to protect public health.