Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, on June 8, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Britain said on Thursday it will reimpose quarantine for travelers from the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland, but ease restrictions on arrivals from Cuba in a bid to keep coronavirus infection rates down.
The decision, which will come into effect from 0300 GMT on Saturday, will require travelers from those three countries to self-isolate for 14 days following spikes in cases.
"Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of #Coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.
Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of #Coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN. If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) August 27, 2020
"Data also shows we can now add Cuba to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors," he added, warning that people thinking of travelling abroad should be prepared for the advice to change at short notice.
Quarantine was imposed last week on Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago, following France, the Netherlands and several other countries on the list as governments across Europe grapple with fears of a second wave of virus infections.
Britain, which has been the hardest-hit European country by COVID-19, registering more than 41,000 deaths to date, has itself seen its number of confirmed cases creeping up in recent weeks.
Officials announced more than 1,500 new cases on Thursday, its highest total since mid-June, although hospital admissions and death rates remain low.
The UK had no quarantine measures in the early stages of the pandemic but in June imposed a blanket self-isolation requirement on all arrivals.
Weeks later it carved out "travel corridors" which exempted travelers from certain countries from quarantine.
However, the measures were reintroduced for arrivals from Spain in late July, catching airlines by surprise -- as well as thousands of Britons leaving for their holidays.
The country's struggling tourism sector has criticized the quarantine policy as overbearing and called for more targeted testing at ports of entry.
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