Holidays to Italy are OFF as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps adds yet another country to England’s travel quarantine ‘red list’ despite it having a lower coronavirus rate than the UK – but trips to Crete are now allowed again
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced Italy is being added to ‘red list’
- Anyone returning to England from Italy from 4am on Sunday must self-isolate
- Mr Shapps added San Marino and Vatican City to ‘red list’ but Crete removed
Grant Shapps today announced Italy is being added to the Government’s travel quarantine ‘red list’ as the number of safe destinations for Brits to visit was reduced still further.
The Transport Secretary said that as of 4am on Sunday all travellers returning to England from Italy as well as San Marino and Vatican City will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
However, a reduction in case numbers means quarantine-free travel to the Greek island of Crete will be allowed to resume.
The decision to impose quarantine restrictions on travel from Italy is likely to spark controversy because its coronavirus infection rate is currently far below the UK’s.
Grant Shapps today announced that Italy is being added to the Government’s travel quarantine ‘red list’
Statistics show that over the past seven days Italy has recorded 58.4 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people while the UK’s rate was recorded at 157.8 per 100,000.
The Government uses a threshold of 20 cases per 100,000 to trigger an assessment of whether a country should be added to the ‘red list’.
But critics have questioned the wisdom of maintaining such a strategy given the rate of infection is so much higher in some parts of the UK than it is in some countries which are currently banned.
Mr Shapps tweeted: ‘TRAVEL CORRIDOR UPDATE: We are REMOVING ITALY, Vatican City state & San Marino from the #TravelCorridor list.
‘However, note that the implementation date is moved to 4am on SUNDAY 18 October & applies UK wide, if you arrive from these destinations you will need to self-isolate.’
He added: ‘We are ADDING CRETE to the #TravelCorridor list this week.
‘From 4am Sunday 18 Oct, if you arrive from Crete, you will NO LONGER need to self-isolate.
‘ALSO THIS WEEK, the whole of the UK is now aligned with our advice around all of the Greek islands.’
Italy recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with 7,332.
The addition of Italy to the ‘red list’ represents a further blow to the UK’s struggling travel industry, as it was one of its last big markets without a quarantine requirement for returning holidaymakers.
Last week Italy introduced compulsory coronavirus testing for arriving UK visitors.
Arrivals from European countries such as the UK, France and Spain must provide evidence of a negative test taken in the 72 hours prior to travel.
Visitors unable to provide proof of a negative result at the border have to take a test in Italy.
Travel firm Thomas Cook said: ‘The removal of Italy is a real blow for UK holidaymakers, especially with half-term on the horizon.
‘Italy is one of our most popular destinations but hopefully the British public will find some consolation in being able to once again fly to Crete quarantine-free.
‘Greece is another of our most popular destinations so this is a boost for anyone looking to book a last-minute break and soak up some well-deserved sunshine.’