COVID-19: The Latest on England’s Travel Corridors for October 2020
In recent months, we have provided a number of updates on the air travel corridors between the UK and other countries around the world. These air corridors were implemented to allow travel to and from countries with lower levels of COVID-19 cases. Each week countries were added or removed, causing widespread consternation to many travellers who were due to travel, or already had. In some cases, visitors to other countries found themselves in a mad scramble to return to the UK before the deadlines imposed by the British Home Office. Indeed, holiday makers desperate to avoid an imposed lock-down on their return were often paying vastly inflated sums of money to get back to the UK by any means; by land, air, or sea.
With the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 cases in many countries, we will review how the UK Home Office’s guidance on travel corridors has evolved, and list which countries we can currently travel to.
Which Countries Have Been Removed from England’s Travel Corridor List in the Last Month?
Due to spiking levels of COVID-19 infection rates in Europe, it is not surprising to see that many of the countries which have been removed from the travel corridor list are European. There are also several small islands in the Caribbean included on the list. In the past few weeks, the following countries have been removed:
- On 18th October 2020:
- San Marino
- Vatican City State
- On 3rd October 2020:
- Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba (Dutch islands in the Caribbean)
- Poland and Turkey
- On 26th September 2020:
- On 19th September 2020:
- On 12th September 2020:
- French Polynesia
Which Countries Have Been Added to England’s Travel Corridor List in the Last m
It is clear to see that since 12th September 2020, far more countries have been removed from the English air corridor list than have been added. It is also interesting to note that some of those are European, most notably Sweden. Given that Sweden has famously trodden its own path of fewer, not more, restrictions, it is remarkable to see their addition to the air travel corridor list. As of 19th October, Sweden saw 676 new cases (compared with over 20,000 on 20th October in the UK), and zero COVID-19 related deaths. Indeed, since 16th October there have been no reported COVID deaths in Sweden.
The full list of countries which are now included in England’s travel corridor list as of 21st October 2020 are as follows:
- Akrotiri and Dhekelia
- Antigua and Barbuda
- the Azores
- British Antarctic Territory
- British Indian Ocean Territory
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- the Channel Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Faroe Islands
- Greece (except Mykonos)
- Hong Kong
- the Isle of Man
- Macao (Macau)
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
- South Korea
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
- St Barthélemy
- St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Pierre and Miquelon
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
What do the Travel Corridor Rules Mean in Practice?
Given the number of rules now in place, including the new COVID Alert Levels system introduced recently by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, it is understandable that many travellers or prospective travellers are unsure of what they mean. The key points to be aware of are as follows:
- You will not need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are returning from a country on the travel corridor list.
- If you arrive from a country which has been removed from the exemption list, you will need to self-isolate on your return for 14 days (assuming you arrive after the deadline).
- If you spend time at the end of your trip in a country which is on the corridor list, the time spent in this country can be removed from the 14 days you need to be in isolation
- If you are not required to self-isolate on your return from another country, you will need to adhere to the local lockdown restrictions in your area
- If your journey involves transit stops in a country, not on the travel corridor list, you will not need to self-isolate on your return if no new passengers get on, no-one on-board gets off and mixes with people outside, or passengers get off but do not get back on. If new passengers get on, or you or other passengers get off the transport you are on and mix with other people, then get on again, then you must self-isolate for 14 days on your return.
- If you are travelling in a private vehicle through a country, not on the list, you will not need to self-isolate if no new people in that country get into your vehicle, or if no one in the vehicle gets out, mixes with others, and gets back in.
- All travellers returning to the UK are required to complete a passenger locator form (this can be done up to 2 days before arrival in the UK).
Many European countries have now been removed from the travel corridor list issued by the Home Office; notably Spain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. It is still possible to travel to some countries in Europe such as Germany, Ireland, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. If you would like to go skiing in the upcoming Winter season, your options are much more limited, unless you are happy to self-isolate on your return. If you are not, you could consider resorts in Germany such as Garmish-Partenkirchen, Teinplatte/Winklmoosalm and Reit im Winkl in Bavaria. Other options will be available in Sweden and eastern European countries such as Lithuania and Latvia. And let us not forget, Scotland.
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