Holidaymakers from England will be required to quarantine for 14 days after returning from many holiday hotspots.
After a week of shambolic delay and wranglings, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the long-awaited list of 59 countries families living in England can visit without quarantining when they return.
Tourists heading to traditional European hotspots in one of the “travel corridor” countries, including France, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Italy, will not have to self-isolate.
But hopes of a break in the Algarve were dashed as Portugal was left off the approved list – thought to be because of a recent spike in cases around Lisbon.
People visiting countries where the risk of infection is still high such as the US, China and Thailand, will still have to shut themselves away when they get back.
The full list of ‘red zone’ countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Cabo Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)
- Costa Rica
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Marshall Islands
- Myanmar (formerly Burma)
- North Korea
- North Macedonia
- Palestine State
- Papua New Guinea
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
The regime, which is due to come into force next Friday, July, 10, will only apply to England and covers people however they enter the country – by air, sea or rail.
Scotland and Wales may sign-up later.
Since June 8, arrivals to the UK from anywhere in the world have had to shut themselves away for a fortnight under the much-criticised quarantine rules.
Publishing the list of nations deemed less risky by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, the Department for Transport said: “We will keep the conditions in these countries and territories under review.
“If they worsen we will not hesitate to reintroduce self-isolation requirements.”
It stressed the “list may be added to over the coming days following further discussions between the UK and international partners”.
The much awaited announcement has been welcomed by the hospitality and travel industry, which has been crippled by huge losses this year.
Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “We’re pleased UK airlines will be able to restart services to many key markets in time for peak summer travel.
“This gives a clear path to opening further, predominantly long-haul destinations in the weeks ahead, and we look forward to working with ministers on measures to mitigate the risk from red countries such as via voluntary testing.”
But holidaymakers will face new measures when abroad – including having to quarantine when they arrive, depending on each government’s stance.
Airlines will be carrying out temperature checks and many countries will require new arrivals to fill out forms detailing where they are staying so they can be traced if there is an outbreak.
Mr Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation.
“Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.
“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”