UPDATED: 15th August – Malta, France, Turks and Caicos and the Netherlands have now been added to the list of countries from which you will need to quarantine on arrival into the UK.
Following the announcement of airbridges between England and a number of countries, the UK government this week announced 59 countries (Source: Gov) that you can visit without the need to quarantine upon your return. The government has also removed the restriction for essential travel only to a number of countries, the details but before you rush out to book flights, you need to do your research. This does not mean that these countries will allow you to enter without restriction, and not all countries on the list have had the ‘all but essential travel’ restriction removed. So which countries are safe to fly to this summer?
Where can you go without quarantine on your return to England?
The table below shows the 59 departure countries from which travellers to England will not need to quarantine after 10th July. The UK government has however also indicated that if circumstances change they will not hesitate to re-introduce quarantine. It is not possible therefore that quarantine will be introduced at short notice.
Covid experience in the 59 countries
The data shows the number of coronavirus infections (as at 4th July 2020), deaths and deaths per million. You can decide for yourself whether there is a heightened risk of travel to any of these countries before you commit to travel. As you can see, many of these countries have some of the highest rates of deaths per million of population.
|Country||Number of cases||Number of deaths||Deaths per million||Exempt from ‘all but essential international travel’ (FCO guidance)||Top 10 count for number of UK visitors||Is the country accepting UK tourists?|
|Antigua and Barbuda||68||3||31||√||×||√ But must provide evidence of a negative test and 14 day quarantine is possible|
|Australia||8362||104||4||√||√||√ 14 day Quarantine|
|Austria||18,165||705||78||√||×||√ 14 day quarantine if test positive|
|Bahamas||104||11||28||√||×||√ With proof of a negative test|
|Barbados||97||7||24||√||×||√ but mandatory quarantine until negative test confirmed|
|British Virgin Islands||8||1||33||×||×||×|
|Faroe Islands||187||0||0||√||×||√ but tested on entry|
|Falkland Islands||13||0||0||×||×||√ but 14 day quarantine|
|France||166,960||29,893||458||√||√||√ but voluntary 14 day quarantine|
|French Polynesia||62||0||0||√||×||√ but 14 day quarantine|
|Greece||3486||192||18||√||×||× No direct flights from the UK until 15th July|
|Grenada||23||0||0||√||×||√ Screening and possible quarantine (FCO)|
|Guadeloupe||184||14||35||×||×||√ Screening and possible quarnatine|
|Ireland||25,589||1744||343||√||√||√ 14 day quarantine|
|Jamaica||721||10||3||√||×||√ Prior authorisation required, with screening and possible quarantine|
|Lithuania||1828||79||28||√||×||√ Government recommends self isolation. Also restrictions apply if the number of Covid cases exceeds certain parameters. Check before travelling.|
|Malta||672||9||20||√||×||× Re-opens on 15th July|
|New Caledonia||21||0||0||×||×||√ but must complete a travel certificate|
|Réunion||533||2||2||√||×||√ but must complete a travel certificate|
|Seychelles||81||0||0||×||×||√ 14 day quarantine|
|South Korea||13,030||283||6||√||×||√ 14 day quarantine|
|St Barthélemy||6||0||0||×||×||√ With proof of a negative test|
|St Kitts and Nevis||15||0||0||√||×||×|
|St Lucia||22||0||0||√||×||× Phased reopening of the country|
|St Pierre and Miquelon||1||0||0||√||×||√ but must complete a travel certificate|
|Taiwan||449||7||0||√||×||√ With proof of a negative test|
|Trinidad and Tobago||130||8||6||√||×||×|
|Turks and Caicos||66||2||52||√||×||√ 14 day quarantine|
What countries can you visit without mandatory quarantine on arrival?
Before racing to book a flight, you will also need to check whether the country you would like to visit will allow entry to UK citizens.
These countries may still impose specific entry restrictions. Some have firmly closed their doors to UK tourists. I have highlighted the ones that allow entry without quarantine. As you can see, this hugely reduces the list of destinations which could be attractive to UK tourists hoping to find places safe to fly to this summer.
Countries highlighted in gold are what I would deem ‘safe countries.’ Not safe because they pose a lower risk of infection, but safe because you should be able to enter and return without the threat of quarantine unless circumstances change hugely during your stay.
This reduces your options to just 16 countries and many will not feature highly on bucket lists.
What countries are exempt from the restriction to all but essential international travel?
To confuse matters furthers, some countries on the list still remain on the FCO list as a destination that you should only visit for essential purposes. Of the 59 countries, I have highlighted the ones that are exempt from this requirement as you need to ensure you select a country where this restriction does not apply.
If this restriction does apply, although you will not need a quarantine, you might not be able to obtain insurance cover for your trip as usually such restrictions invalidate your cover.
Are these countries really safe to travel to?
I have highlighted the countries that feature in the top 10 for visitors to the UK. Travellers from these countries accounted for 41.9% of all overseas visits to the UK in 2019. (Source: ONS). This implies that factors, other than a ‘lower threat‘ may influence which countries made it onto this list.
I personally don’t think anywhere is safe. You could pick up the infection in any country, including the UK. But are you more at risk? We know that the incidences of infection receded during lockdown. Inevitably therefore, as more people start to travel, the potential for spread will naturally increase. But this is equally true of lockdown relaxation in the UK.
Only you can decide if you are willing to take the risk. You should follow usual social distancing policies where possible.
Advice for travel
If you decide that you are happy to take the risk of travel, there are 3 steps you should follow:
- Use this Gov list to check that the country you wish to visit allows re-entry to England without quarantine.
- Visit Gov.com to check that the country you wish to visit is not a country restricted to essential travel only as this will likely invalidate your insurance.
- Check that the country is accepting tourists from the UK without quarantine on arrival.
If you can answer yes to each of these 3 questions go ahead and book your trip.
Note however, Covid hotspots change frequently. Even if your chosen destination passes these 3 tests today, the situation may change during your trip.
One last tip
Finally, my last piece of advice would be to book AirBnb rather than hotels. You will have less exposure to other people that way. If you use this link to sign up, you will get £34 off your first AirBnb booking.
Have your say
But what do you think? Have your say in the comments below.