Once again, the quarantine quagmire sees travellers and the beleaguered travel industry pulling their hair out in sheer frustration as the rules change almost on a daily basis and often with just hours notice.
In this pandemic world, travellers hang on every word and decision made by the Department for Transport so that they can plan a holiday while holiday companies pray for good news so they can sell holidays and stay in business.
The UK government is not U-turn averse and when the popular hotspots of France and Spain were put on the travel corridor list, they were promptly taken off again following COVID-19 spikes scuppering the holiday plans of hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.
Today it’s the turn of holidaymakers in Greece and Portugal to wonder about their plight on their return home because the UK is split over quarantine rules.
The two countries have received a stay of execution and remain on England’s and Northern Ireland’s “Green” list for now even though Portugal’s has had a spike in COVID-19 incidences.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted (September 3):
“We continue to keep the Travel Corridor list under constant review and won’t hesitate to remove countries if needed. However, there are no English additions or removals today.”
Scotland and Wales disagree. The Welsh government has decreed that from 4am Friday 4th, arrivals from mainland Portugal, Gibraltar and the Greek Islands of Crete, Lesbos, Mykonos, Antiparos, Paros and Zante landing will have to quarantine for 14-days. Wales has also required people returning from Gibraltar and French Polynesia to self-isolate.
Scotland has ruled that arrivals from all of Portugal and Greece will have to self-isolate.
It begs the question: how can the devolved nations say that they are taking their cue from the same science with vastly different interpretations. Surely they can come together and agree on a nationwide ruling.
In the meantime, the list of exempt countries is rapidly getting smaller. Most recently Switzerland, The Czech Republic and Jamaica were removed. That was on the heels of Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago.
France, Malta and the Netherlands, Monaco, Andorra, Belgium, The Bahamas, Spain, Serbia and Luxembourg, Turks & Caicos and Aruba dropped off the list in the middle of August with no sign of being reinstated at this time.
So, where can you go right now?
Right now you can travel to Denmark, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey. If you live in England you can return unhindered by self-isolation from Portugal and Greece.
Bear in mind that this list can change at any time.