Quarantine rules in Europe explained: Latest travel advice and restrictions including Spain, France and Greece


A SUMMER holiday abroad may be off the cards for 2020 as fears of a second coronavirus wave lead to last-minute travel bans and holiday uncertainty.

The UK government released the full list of “air bridge” countries last month, which removed the travel ban from a number of countries.

As coronavirus cases soar across Europe, travel restrictions are being brought back into place

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As coronavirus cases soar across Europe, travel restrictions are being brought back into placeCredit: EPA

Countries left off the air bridge list will require a 14-day quarantine when returning to the UK.

Non-essential travel is also banned to any of the countries, with insurance invalid if going on holiday, as only essential travel is allowed.

Since July 10, there have been approximately 70 countries on the UK’s safe list.

However, the list is being constantly updated, with a number of European destinations being removed from the list or placed on the watch list by government officials.

Here is the latest advice for holiday hotspots across Europe, including France, Spain and Greece, regarding quarantines and travel restrictions.

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France

While travel to France is still allowed, a spike in new infections has led to fears that the country could be the next to be banned by the UK government.

France confirmed 1,695 new cases this week, the highest since May 30 prompting fears of a second wave.

The Times reports that France has been placed in the category of nations that is being “closely monitored” by Whitehall officials. 

France’s own scientific committee issued a stark warning earlier this week that the country was experiencing a second surge in cases. 

They said: “The situation is precarious and we could at any moment tip into a scenario that is less under control, like in Spain.”

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There is currently no travel ban or quarantine restrictions, and no restrictions on arrival.

France may be the next country to be removed from the UK's safe travel list

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France may be the next country to be removed from the UK’s safe travel listCredit: Reuters

Spain

Spain was the first country to be removed from the UK’s safe list, with holidaymakers given just four hours notice.

Since July 26, all non essential travel has been banned and Brits face a two week quarantine when returning to the UK.

This initially only included mainland Spain – the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands followed suit from July 27.

Cases of coronavirus have been soaring across Spain – on Wednesday, Spain reported its highest number of new cases since it began easing lockdown restrictions in June, with 1,772 infections.

The Balearic Islands have also seen a surge in cases, and a number of regions in Spain have been put back into lockdown.

There is no suggestion as to when the Spanish travel ban will be lifted.

Travelling to Spain has been banned since July 26 due to soaring infections

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Travelling to Spain has been banned since July 26 due to soaring infectionsCredit: EPA

Italy

Italy, once the epicentre of coronavirus where daily infections hit 6,554, has lower cases than other holiday hotspots which are battling a second wave.

Giovanni Rezza, director of the infective illness department at the National Institute of Health, said Italy’s new cases were “one of the lowest in Europe and the world” with new infections under 400 since June 7.

Italy is currently on the UK’s safe travel list, meaning no travel bans and no mandatory quarantines.

The country also has no travel restrictions for British tourists on arrival.

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Greece

Greece is seeing a spike in cases, with the highest number of new coronavirus infections in weeks at 121 new cases.

The country is also fearing they could be back on the travel ban list if cases continue to climb.

Greece’s top scientific adviser Professor Sotiris Tsiodras said: “There must be great vigilance to a possible increase. The situation could quickly get out of hand. It needs vigilance and attention by all.”

However, the UK still currently deems the country safe for travel with no quarantine required when returning home.

Greece has its own entry restrictions for British tourists – to be allowed to enter, tourists must fill in a Passenger Locator Form 24 hours before travelling to receive a QR code.

Without this, families face huge fines or being sent back to the UK.

Greece is reporting a surge in cases across the mainland and the islands

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Greece is reporting a surge in cases across the mainland and the islandsCredit: Reuters

Cyprus

Cyprus has kept coronavirus infections low, but numbers are starting to go up.

According to local media, new cases have hit 25 which, while low, is a concern – cases have been rising since July 2 with overall cases at 1,150.

At its peak, Cyprus reported 58 new infections in one day, on April 1.

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said the spike was “exceedingly worrying” due to people with no symptoms spreading the virus, adding that it was a “utopia” to believe the virus can be defeated without a vaccine.

Cyprus remains on the UK’s air bridge list with no travel ban and no quarantine restrictions.

British tourists must have a negative coronavirus test up to 72 hours before travelling to Cyprus.

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Cyprus welcomed British tourists back this month, but is seeing a rise in cases

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Cyprus welcomed British tourists back this month, but is seeing a rise in casesCredit: AFP or licensors

Malta

Malta, which has reported some of the lowest cases of coronavirus across Europe, is seeing more new infections every day.

On July 23, Malta had just six active cases – this has since soared to 267 after large group events were allowed.

While there were less than two new daily cases last month, July 30 saw 94 new cases in one day.

The country has already been removed from Ireland’s green list, followed by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who enforce a 14-day quarantine.

While travel is still allowed, and there is no UK quarantine being enforced, there are fears it could be next to be taken off the safe list.

Portugal

Portugal has remained off the travel list since it was announced last month, after a spike in new cases in Lisbon.

Despite the spike, the country still has low infections compared to other European destinations – there are just 12,478 active cases, compared to France’s 82,861 and Spain’s 129,072.

Portugal’s foreign minister said the UK government’s decision to continue the country’s ban was “absurd” – Augusto Santos Silva tweeted that the decision was “not backed by facts.”

However, the UK government currently ban all non-essential travel to Portugal, and Brits face a two-week quarantine when returning home.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak warns of travel disruption risk with fears France could be added to coronavirus quarantine list





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