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UK drops quarantine for Hong Kong arrivals

Travellers from Hong Kong will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in the UK.

The UK government released a list of quarantine-free, ‘traffic light’ countries this weekend, enabling travellers from many global destinations to travel restriction-free to the UK.

From July 10, travellers from the 'green and amber light' destinations listed will not need to quarantine when they enter the UK. However, the quarantine exemption does not apply to those returning to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland from ‘amber light’ countries.

Despite government efforts, this is not a reciprocal arrangement and some countries have retained quarantine requirements for British travellers. The UK government is hoping to negotiate future quarantine-free ‘air corridors’ on both sides, although countries such as New Zealand and Australia are expected to maintain restrictions.

The full list of ‘green and amber light’ countries and territories includes:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbados, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Reunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City and Vietnam.

Also exempted from quarantine are the 14 British territories including Gibraltar, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and the Falkland Islands. Ireland is also exempt, but it is expected to impose quarantine on Britons from July 9 when it opens its borders to selected overseas destinations.

Travellers into the UK will still be required to provide contact information on arrival. Those who are currently self-isolating because they arrived before July 10 will be able to stop from that date.

The government said the list will be kept under “constant review” and new destinations could be added before the next review date later in July. If any destination experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, it may be removed from the list.

According to the UK’s Department for Transport, risk assessments were carried out by the Joint Biosecurity Centre in consultation with Public Health England and the chief medical officer, professor Chris Whitty. Factors taken into consideration were each destination’s prevalence of coronavirus, the number of new cases and the potential trajectory of the virus.

The UK’s flag carrier, British Airways, will be stepping up its flight schedule in July with more short-, mid- and long-haul destinations.

The airline will resume flights between London and Tokyo’s Haneda airport with a limited service from July 1 and will be offering mid-haul flights to Dubai, Istanbul and Marrakesh from July 16. Dubai will open to international tourists on July 7.

Many of British Airways’ normal long-haul routes will also resume by the end of the month, including flights to Bermuda, Dallas, Miami, Seattle and Toronto. The Caribbean will also see British Airways return to Barbados and Kingston later in the month.

The airline will begin opening its lounges at Heathrow’s T5 to premium customers from July 4.


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