LONDON: The UK on Friday said that it would allow a quarantine-free international travel to some low-risk countries falling in its green zone list of an estimated 50 nations.
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the US will fall within the red zone. India’s classification is yet to be confirmed.
While the complete list of the estimated 50 low-risk countries is yet to be released, European countries of Germany, France, Spain and Italy have been confirmed as being within the green zone.
“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses,” said Shapps.
“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with,” the minister said.
Under the Covid-19 lockdown related rules brought in last month, most travellers from any part of the world coming into the UK currently have to self-isolate, or quarantine for two weeks.
According to the new measures, which will come into force from July 10, people arriving from selected green or amber zone destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.
The devolved administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be subject to slightly different quarantine rules until they confirm their travel strategies to control the spread of coronavirus.
The UK government said that its expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the UK to self-isolate. This will mean that holidaymakers or business travellers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey.
The exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase, self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England, the department for transport said.
The UK foreign office is also set to change its blanket advice against all non-essential foreign travel from Saturday and make it more region-specific in line with the traffic light system.
The transport ministry said that the graded travel system, which follows a risk assessment, has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre in close consultation with the public health England and the chief medical officer.
The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of the coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the contagion has infected over 10 million people and killed more than 521,000 across the world.
The US is the worst affected country with over 2.7 million cases and more than 1,28,000 deaths. The UK has over 285,000 cases with more than 44,000 fatalities.
The Covid-19, which originated in China’s Wuhan city in December last year, has also battered the world economy with the International Monetary Fund saying that the global economy is bound to suffer a “severe recession”.
Scientists are racing against time to find a vaccine or medicine for its treatment.