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COVID-19

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule

The UK government will lift its 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement for arrivals in England from “lower risk countries” including Spain, Germany, France and Italy, but not Sweden. The restriction may continue to apply for those arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule
AFP

The date for quarantine to be lifted was initially scheduled to be July 6th but the UK’s Department for Transport announced on Thursday it had been pushed back to July 10th.

A full list of countries from which arrivals will no longer need to self-isolate was published on Friday (see below)

The list of nationals exempt from 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival in England included travellers from European countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium and Norway but not Portugal or Sweden given their recent spike in cases.

From July 10th anyone arriving in the UK by train, coach, ferry or air ill not have to enter quarantine for 14 days.

These countries will have “reciprocal arrangements” in place, meaning travellers from the UK will not have to quarantine on arrival there either. So travellers to and from France will not have to enter obligatory or voluntary self-isolation.

Some 59 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's blanket quarantine rules.

The UK’s Department for Transport also said that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “will set out their own approach”, meaning the quarantine lifting applied to England alone and that passengers arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there”.

The latest news from the Scottish press suggests that the 14-day quarantine will remain in place in England’s northerly neighbour after July 10th, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having been particularly critical of British PM Boris Johnson's approach to easing coronavirus lockdown measures. 

No decision has been made on whether Wales or Northern Ireland will follow England in lifting the 14-day quarantine on July 10th.

Currently travellers arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 (€1,100) if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, and a £480 (€532) fine in Scotland. 

The full list available here is:

Member comments

  1. “Train, coach, ferry or air” – what about folk who drive and use the Channel Tunnel? That doesn’t seem to be covered by the list.

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COVID-19

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany’s spending in pandemic

The German Constitutional Court rejected challenges Tuesday to Berlin's participation in the European Union's coronavirus recovery fund, but expressed some reservations about the massive package.

Court turns down AfD-led challenge to Germany's spending in pandemic

Germany last year ratified the €750-billion ($790-billion) fund, which offers loans and grants to EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

The court in Karlsruhe ruled on two challenges, one submitted by a former founder of the far-right AfD party, and the other by a businessman.

They argued the fund could ultimately lead to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, having to take on the debts of other EU member states on a permanent basis.

But the Constitutional Court judges ruled the EU measure does not violate Germany’s Basic Law, which forbids the government from sharing other countries’ debts.

READ ALSO: Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The judgement noted the government had stressed that the plan was “intended to be a one-time instrument in reaction to an unprecedented crisis”.

It also noted that the German parliament retains “sufficient influence in the decision-making process as to how the funds provided will be used”.

The judges, who ruled six to one against the challenges, did however express some reservations.

They questioned whether paying out such a large amount over the planned period – until 2026 – could really be considered “an exceptional measure” to fight the pandemic.

At least 37 percent of the funds are aimed at achieving climate targets, the judges said, noting it was hard to see a link between combating global warming and the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Germany to fast-track disputed €200 billion energy fund

They also warned against any permanent mechanism that could lead to EU members taking on joint liability over the long term.

Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding said the ruling had “raised serious doubts whether the joint issuance to finance the fund is in line with” EU treaties.

“The German court — once again — emphasised German limits for EU fiscal integration,” he said.

The court had already thrown out a legal challenge, in April 2021, that had initially stopped Berlin from ratifying the financial package.

Along with French President Emmanuel Macron, then chancellor Angela Merkel sketched out the fund in 2020, which eventually was agreed by the EU’s 27 members in December.

The first funds were disbursed in summer 2021, with the most given to Italy and Spain, both hit hard by the pandemic.

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