06 Aug Coronavirus: UK puts Belgium, Andorra and Bahamas on quarantine list | Politics News
Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra have been added to the UK’s coronavirus quarantine list, after a spike in cases in the affected countries.
Tweeting on Thursday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people arriving in the UK from those countries after 4am on Saturday would need to isolate for 14 days.
He said: “Data shows we need to remove Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors in order to keep infection rates DOWN.”
Wales earlier made a similar move, but the Welsh government also announced it would make travellers from Brunei and Malaysia exempt from quarantine measures at its border after cases in the two nations decreased.
The move comes after a meeting of all four UK countries to consider the public health risk from increasing COVID-19 cases in the affected areas.
The changes in Wales will come into force from midnight on Friday.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have not yet said if they will bring in similar measures against travellers coming in from those countries.
Serbia was removed from Wales’ exemption list on 11 July, and Spain and its islands were also taken off on 26 July after a rise in coronavirus cases.
Belgium has suffered a consistent increase in cases in recent weeks, rising to 27.8 new cases per 100,000 people, new figures show.
This is much higher than the UK’s current 8.4, and is also above the 27.4 number that Spain had at the time the UK reimposed the quarantine rules on arrivals from there.
Last week, Belgium’s prime minister Sophie Wilmes introduced drastic new social distancing measures in the hope of avoiding a new national lockdown.
She announced a plan to limit contacts outside every household to the same five people for a month to limit the spread of the virus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned last month there are “signs of a second wave” of COVID-19 brewing in Europe.
But the World Health Organisation says such talk is unhelpful, with a spokesperson insisting: “We are in the first wave. It’s going to be one big wave.”
Quarantine rules were brought in across the UK at the start of June, meaning anyone arriving in the country had to self-isolate for two weeks.
A list of low-risk countries where levels of coronavirus are lower was drawn up, but several have since been taken off it.
Travellers to Spain were hit by the announcement at the end of July, and those coming into the country from Luxembourg are also no longer exempt.
Ministers have been dangling the threat of more announcements in recent days, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden telling Sky News: “It would be foolhardy of the government not to impose those restrictions if we think there is a risk and we will impose those restrictions as soon as we think the risk has materialised.
“We cannot risk importing it again from other countries where incidences are rising.”