UK Reopens to International Travelers, But Not Americans

After less than four weeks in force, the United Kingdom (U.K.) is dropping its fourteen-day quarantine restrictions on visitors and returning residents from 59 countries, based upon its own COVID-19 risk assessments of each. England’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, today published the full list (which can also be found below), noting that policy changes will take effect on July 10.

The official list of exempted nations and territories was just announced today, following weeks of anticipation and pressure being exerted by certain members of Parliament, some scientists, a tourism sector faced with incredible economic losses and aviation companies that were threatening to sue over the controversial blanket quarantine requirement implemented back on June 8.

In hopes of salvaging something of the summer season for its own tourism industry, as well as to enable British citizens to let off some steam after months of intensive lockdown, England will now welcome arrivals from neighbors like France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and other European destinations where Britons typically take their warm-weather holidays; as well as from a host of other countries scattered throughout the globe.

The new list of exemptions was compiled based upon the government’s in-house assessment of contagion-levels, new infection rates and the overall trajectory of the COVID-19 outbreak in countries around the world, which were then classified as “green”, “yellow” or “red”. The United States, now indisputably the pandemic’s epicenter, remains firmly in the red zone, as infection numbers continue to increase.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are entitled to determine their own travel policies, and may choose not to follow England’s new course of easing restrictions. The New York Times reports that Scotland, with lower rates of infection and related deaths than England, has balked at the idea of rescinding quarantines; but the Scottish government has not yet announced its decision and may be somewhat at the mercy of its open borders with the rest of the U.K.

The Full Exemption List:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Réunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City and Vietnam.

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