UK Air Bridge Countries List
If you had asked someone what an ‘air-bridge’ is before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we travel internationally, you might have received a few blank looks. Air bridges or corridors have been put in place to several international countries where it believed that the spread of COVID-19 does not pose an increased risk to passengers entering England, and hence there is no need to self-isolate. However, as COVID-19 continues to spread to new countries, and is re-emerging in countries which have previously brought the virus under control, the destinations on the list are changing almost daily. In this article, we will provide an update on the latest air corridors, including which have recently been added, and which have been removed.
Which Countries Are Currently on The Air Corridor List?
As of the day of writing (26th August 2020), the following countries are on the air corridor list:
Akrotiri and Dhekeli, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Brunei, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, French Polynesia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, San Marino, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Vatican City and Vietnam.
It is essential that you check the latest air corridor list on the government website as changes are being made regularly and without little notice.
Most recently, Austria, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from the air corridor list meaning that anyone entering England from one of those countries after 4 am on 22nd August 2020 was required to self-isolate. Before this, the following countries were removed from the list:
- Aruba, France, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands from 4 am on 15th August 2020
- Andorra, the Bahamas, and Belgium from 4 am on 8th August 2020
Portugal was recently re-added to the safe travel list at 4 am on 22nd August 2020, as were Brunei and Malaysia on 11th August 2020.
You may also be exempt from having to self-isolate if you are travelling from within the common travel area (this includes Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man) or a
British overseas territory.
It is important to note that the requirement to self-isolate applies whether you have visited or been transiting through a country which is not on the air bridge list. The rules apply not just to air travel but to any form of transport to England, including train, boat, or coach/bus.
You will not need to self-isolate if:
- You are transiting through a country not on the air corridor list, but no new passengers get on, no one on the plane gets off and mixes with others outside, and passengers get off but not back on.
- You are travelling through a country not on the air corridor list in a private vehicle, and you don’t stop in that country. If you do stop, you will only need to self-isolate if a new person gets into the vehicle or if someone gets out and mixes with others before getting back in.
Completing A Passenger Locator Form
To allow tracing, everyone entering England is required to complete a passenger locator form regardless of where they have travelled from, or their reason for travelling. This applies to residents and citizens of England and visitors. It is recommended that this form should be completed before arriving in England to save time and queues at the border.
What Is Meant by Self-Isolation?
The government’s COVID-19 guidance states the following, “When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’) unless you’re arriving from an exempt country. This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear. If you’re travelling to the UK for less than 14 days, you will be expected to self-isolate for the length of your stay”.
The primary reason to self-isolate for 14 days is that it can take this long for any symptoms of the virus to appear. By isolating from others, the chances that you might unknowingly pass on the virus to other people will be reduced or eliminated. The UK government is especially keen to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus to reduce the potential for a second spike in cases later in 2020.
The guidance also confirms that individuals will be fined if they fail to self-isolate; “In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration – or do not update your contact detail form in the limited circumstances where you need to move from the accommodation where you’re self-isolating to another place to continue self-isolating – you can be fined up to £3,200”.
If you do need to self-isolate, you can do so in your own home, with friends or family, or in a hotel or other temporary accommodation. You are highly discouraged from seeing anyone, including friends and family during the 14 days except in cases of a medical emergency, for personal care, veterinary care for a pet, or other critical public services. Shopping and public spaces must be avoided and you must only exercise within the confines of your home or garden. The guidance also states that you cannot leave your home to walk your dog, and that you should ask friends or relatives to help where needed.
Air bridges have enabled many people to visit friends and family members, make business trips, and take a holiday. Given how fluid the situation is, making plans ahead of time is extremely difficult due to the risk of your destination country being removed from the air corridor list. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that you book with a reputable travel company who will be able to refund the cost of your travel if you are forced to cancel, and will be able to assist you if your destination is removed from the list while you are away.
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