European holidaymakers threatened with sudden and evolving travel rules for COVID-19 – National

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At 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 27, the UK government released its latest changes to its ‘safe list’ of COVID-19 travel corridors, that is, countries that travelers do not need to travel to. isolate on arrival in England.Cuba was added to the safe list, but the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland were removed.

Confusingly, the rest of the UK countries of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales decide on their own lists, which are mostly, but not exactly, the same as England’s.

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The changes were due to go into effect on Saturday, August 29 at 4 a.m., giving UK residents of those three countries 35 hours to return home or face the prospect of self-isolating for 14 days.

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In recent weeks, two of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations – France and Spain – have also been suddenly taken off the safe list.

He even caught UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps who missed the deadline and decided to cut his family vacation to Spain short to start his self-isolation as soon as possible.

The UK is basing its changes on COVID-19 infection rates over the past seven days.

If the rate exceeds 20 infections per 100,000 population, a country is removed from the safe list.

Travelers leave Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport on August 22, 2020 in London, England. Due to changes in the UK travel corridor rules, effective August 29 at 4 a.m., travelers arriving from the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. From the same date, travelers from Cuba are no longer required to quarantine. (Photo by Hollie Adams / Getty Images).


London resident Saul Burban flew to London from Switzerland on Friday, modifying his flight to avoid the requirement to self-isolate.

“It would have been a huge drama if they had only told us that same day, or mentioned it the same day, but there had been rumors in the press a few days before that, so it got me. sort of warned, ”he said. .

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“So I knew I had to keep an eye on it, and when I thought they were going to make a decision, I just called a little early to catch my flight, and I’m glad I did.” because it was the only flight available.

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German tourists faced similar problems this week when Germany added Paris and the French regions of the French Riviera to its quarantine list.

Travelers arriving in Germany from an “at risk” region are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 48 hours, to avoid having to self-isolate for 14 days.

Germany has a more liberal definition of ‘at risk’ region than the UK, with a threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 population in the previous seven days.

The small island nation of Iceland has perhaps the most conservative measures in Europe.

Since August 19, he considers all countries to be “at risk” areas.

Before that, only Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany were on its safe list.

Overload of new rules

The 14-day COVID-19 case notification rate per 100,000 people as of August 29, 2020 (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control).

The 14-day COVID-19 case notification rate per 100,000 people as of August 29, 2020 (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control).


European Center for Disease Prevention and Control


“To say it’s frustrating and confusing is to say it gently,” said UK-based travel writer Fionn Davenport.

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“But if I had to be generous to health officials, I would say, ‘well, I don’t know what else they can do.'”

Davenport has seen its income drop significantly since February.










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“My business was completely decimated as a result of [the] coronavirus, ”said the author of the Lonely Planet travel guide.

“So it’s my natural instinct to yearn for openness, to aspire to as many trips as possible. But that said, I understand the frustrations and limitations that are imposed [travellers]. »

The different tactics adopted by the different countries even create diplomatic tensions.

The economies of sunny southern European countries depend heavily on the annual influx of northern Europeans.

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On August 22, Croatia’s Secretary of State for Tourism responded to his country’s delisting from Britain’s security list, calling on Britain to allow travelers to take a COVID-19 test to dispense with isolate yourself.

The UK government has not given details of a possible future testing regime for arriving travelers.

The political implications of the self-isolation rules could even impact the UK’s ongoing Brexit negotiations with Europe.

EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan was forced to resign on Wednesday over allegations he violated COVID-19 guidelines while traveling to Ireland.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has declared that she expects “members of the College to be particularly vigilant in respecting the applicable national or regional rules or recommendations”.

Venice, Italy, August 22, 2020. Most European travelers can enter Italy freely, but those who have stayed in or transited through Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain are required to present a swab test with a negative result, carried out 72 hours before arrival.  .  Travelers who have stayed in or have transited through Bulgaria or Romania are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Venice, Italy, August 22, 2020. Most European travelers can enter Italy freely, but those who have stayed in or transited through Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain are required to present a swab test with a negative result, carried out 72 hours before arrival. . Travelers who have stayed in or have transited through Bulgaria or Romania are required to self-isolate for 14 days.


Photo by Adrià Salido Zarco / NurPhoto via Getty Image


For those who decide to travel, however, the benefits could outweigh the stress of confusing travel rules.

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Popular destinations like Barcelona, ​​Florence and Paris are normally packed with tourists at this time of year.

In 2020, the experience is very different.

This month, Davenport traveled to Venice – his first overseas trip in six months – a city that normally receives tens of millions of visitors a year.

“It reminded me of what it would have been like when I first went there in the mid-1970s, maybe as a little kid with my parents, in that there was no visitors from outside Europe. So no visitors from the United States, no visitors from China and all the other non-European visitors, ”he said.

“We entered the Doge’s Palace and we went to one of the main museums to see a Tintoretto [painting], and I’m not kidding, there must have been 12 people, instead of a thousand… which is obviously terrible for Venetian tourism, but absolutely brilliant for us visitors.

Until the pandemic is over, it looks like travel could remain a high-risk, high-return activity.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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