Written byShalini Ojha
The British government has decided to ease quarantine rules for travelers from over 50 countries, Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Friday, indicating that the country is now moving quickly towards re-opening after battling the peak of coronavirus pandemic.
Shapps said the complete list will be released soon. This change will come to effect from July 10.
The US, the worst-affected nation, could be skipped.
International travel largely remained suspended in the wake of COVID-19, the highly contagious disease, whose outbreak started in China last year.
Europe was among the first ones to be battered; the UK also dealt with a surge of cases during April and May.
Last month, the UK introduced new guidelines related to incoming travel. As per rules, enforced on June 8, all those entering the country, via flights, ships, or trains, had to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.
They were asked to declare the address where they would be staying. Those defying the rules were to be fined £1,000.
A month later, rules were changed, again.
The existing quarantine rules evoked criticism for the government. Perhaps buoyed by the same derision, the government said it would streamline the rules, splitting countries on the basis of risks they pose.
They would be color-coded as green, amber, or red (green being the safest one).
And now, it is amply clear that travelers from France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, won't have to self-isolate.
Announcing the big decision, Shapps said, "It is really important that we do this in a very careful and cautious way. The most important thing is to maintain the gains that we have had. (sic)"
On Saturday, the government is also expected to declare a list of countries, where traveling is safe. This means UK travel enthusiasts can go on vacations overseas.
Separately, the Department of Transport revealed that the list of countries will be reviewed from time to time "so that if the health risks increase, self-isolation measures can be reintroduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England."
Besides, the United States, Russia and Brazil, which are the second and third worst-hit nations respectively, won't be included either, hinted reports.
The Airlines UK trade association welcomed this development underlining that the quarantine rules had a devastating impact on the industry.
"It's welcome the government has removed its blanket ban. We would encourage rigor and science is applied in all future decisions surrounding our businesses," the association said.
To note, the coronavirus tally in the UK stands at 283,757, and 43,995 have passed away.
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