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Holidays have been well and truly blighted by quarantine rules for much of 2020. So far, if holidaymakers travel to any country which isn’t on the UK’s travel corridor list, they have needed to self-isolate for 14 days in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus. From December 15, this quarantine period will be reduced to five days.
The travel industry has welcomed the news but deemed it as “long overdue”.
Travellers will have to undergo a covid test and receive a negative result in order to only quarantine for the five-day period.
The tests will not be available for the NHS and will need to be obtained privately
To be taken five days after returning from a ‘quarantine’ country, they will cost between £65 and £120.
Results will normally be issued in 24 to 48 hours.
This means people could be released from quarantine six days after arrival.
Grant Shapps said: “We have a plan in place to ensure that our route out of this pandemic is careful and balanced, allowing us to focus on what we can now do to bolster international travel while keeping the public safe.
“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business.
“By giving people the choice to test on day five, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”
Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK-registered carriers, predicted demand for air travel will “tentatively return” following the decision.
However, he added that a pre-departure or domestic testing regime that can completely remove the need to self-isolate is “the only way we’re going to comprehensively reopen the market”.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “It’s a much-needed and long overdue step forward to helping the travel sector recover further
“But we still have a complex jigsaw puzzle of restrictions around the world that need tourists to have a high IQ to understand. We need to see global consistency for travel to fully take off.”
Travellers do not need to quarantine if returning to from a country on the travel corridor list.
This is the latest list of England’s travel corridors:
Antigua and Barbuda
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
The Canary Islands
The Channel Islands
Greek islands: Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes, Zakynthos
The Isle of Man
Israel and Jerusalem
Northern Mariana Islands
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
St Kitts and Nevis
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos Islands
United Arab Emirates
US Virgin Islands
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