Here’s why Czech Republic, Switzerland and Jamaica have been added to the UK’s quarantine list - and what to do if you have a holiday booked

Friday, 28th August 2020, 3:24 pm
Updated Friday, 28th August 2020, 3:24 pm
Czech Republic, Switzerland and Jamaica have been removed from the government’s travel corridor list, meaning travellers returning to the UK from these countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days (Photo: Shutterstock)

Czech Republic, Switzerland and Jamaica have been removed from the government’s travel corridor list, meaning travellers returning to the UK from these countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its travel advice for these three countries to ‘all but essential travel’, based on “the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

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Why have they been removed from the travel corridor list?

The new restrictions are coming into place in an attempt to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Switzerland, which was removed from the travel corridor list in Scotland last week, recently reported more than 300 new cases in a 24-hour period.

According to data cited by the Department for Transport, the Czech Republic has also seen a 25 per cent increase in cases in the last week, and Jamaica's infections have risen from 4.3 per 100,000 people to 20.8 in the past seven days.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter: “The decision on whether to add or remove a country is carefully made after research from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

“A lead indicator is 20 cases per 100k [population] over seven days but they take into account a wide range of factors, including level, rate and speed of change in confirmed cases.”

Mr Shapps also reminded travellers that decisions in regards to travel corridors can change quickly.

“Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of coronavirus travel corridors to keep infection rates DOWN,” said Mr Shapps.

“As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can (and do sometimes) change quickly. Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine on return.”

The changes will come into place from 4am on Saturday 29 August.

However, Cuba will be added to the travel corridor list following a fall in the Covid-19 infection rate, meaning travellers can visit and then return to the UK without having to self-isolate.

What is the new travel advice?

The new travel advice for the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Jamaica is ‘all but essential travel’, which means people are advised to go there only if necessary.

If you do choose to travel to any of these countries, your travel insurance could also be invalidated.

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in the Czech Republic, Switzerland or Jamaica to leave at this time.

“You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus,” explains the FCO.

You should also contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.

What if I have a holiday booked?

If you have booked a package holiday, which is both flights and accommodation, with a forthcoming departure date, then the travel company is likely to offer a full refund.

If you have booked the flights and accommodation separately, then it usually depends on what the airline and accommodation provider decide to offer, with some airlines offering the opportunity to rebook, get a full cash refund or a credit note.

Hotels may offer the chance to postpone your trip, but some may be unlikely to provide a full refund.