Portugal Added to UK Covid-19 Safe Travel List | Coronavirus epidemic

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Portugal is added to the list of UK travel corridors, meaning that arrivals from the country will no longer have to be quarantined, but Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago are being removed, it has been confirmed.

As previously reported by the Guardian, UK government ministers including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday agreed to changes affecting Portugal, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago.

But, after final talks and the agreement of the UK’s decentralized administrations on Thursday afternoon, Austria is also removed from the travel corridor due to concerns over its coronavirus infections. Scotland is also moving separately to remove Switzerland from its own list of travel corridors.

Shapps announced the move on Twitter.

The decision to exempt arrivals from Portugal from the 14-day Covid-19 quarantine measures is a major boost for the country’s tourism industry, which was hit hard when it was excluded from the list of corridors of travel earlier this summer.

Croatia is taken off the list of travel corridors after a rise in infections, with Austria and Trinidad and Tobago joining in to be removed, leaving thousands of holidaymakers returning just over 30 hours to to return to escape quarantine measures.

It is understood that Greece is being watched closely amid concerns over rising Covid infections.

Individual decisions on whether or not to remove destinations from the travel corridor are taken by decentralized administrations, but France’s removal from the list last week was taken in unison by the four British countries.

The four governments, which each have legal and political responsibilities to enforce these travel regulations in their own jurisdictions, held joint discussions on the new quarantine measures Thursday afternoon before finalizing the announcement.

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf tweeted: “If you are returning to Scotland from Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. If you are coming back from Portugal, you will * no longer * need to isolate yourself for 14 days. Above applies to Scotland, all changes are effective at 4 a.m. on August 22. “

It comes after the Guardian revealed that officials at the Joint Biosafety Center had identified specific cases of coronavirus imported into the UK from Croatia. It is not known how many cases have been identified or where in the country, but it is understood that the number of imported cases is at a level similar to that shown by Spain when it was removed from the travel corridor in the month. last with only a few hours notice, causing chaos for vacationers.

Croatia reported 199 new cases of Covid on Tuesday. On Thursday, according to the European Center for Disease Control, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases over 14 days in Croatia was 41.7 per 100,000 people and 30.8 in Austria, compared to 20.9 in the UK and 27.8 in Portugal.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that the Balkan region, of which Croatia is a part, was a “hot spot” for the coronavirus. Dr Catherine Smallwood told a WHO press conference: ‘The situation in the Balkans has been worrying us since the beginning of June when we started to see cases on the rise and that has been a hot spot. sub-regional during the summer period. “

From Wednesday this week to the end of September, 767 major airline flights have been scheduled between the UK and Croatia, for a total capacity of nearly 130,000 seats, according to aviation data analysts Cirium. Travel consultancy firm PC Agency, which monitors developments in travel corridors, estimated that there were 20,000 British holidaymakers in Croatia this week.

Darija Reic, Director of the Croatian National Tourism Board in London, said: “We are convinced that Croatia is still a safe place for tourists, with the majority of the coast having a low number of infections. Croatian authorities are continuously monitoring and adjusting security measures related to Covid to ensure that we are in control of the virus at all times. “

Trinidad and Tobago’s withdrawal comes after steps taken in recent weeks to take off the Bahamas, the British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the island of Aruba, a constituent country of the United Down in the Caribbean.

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