The UK Government has published a list of 59 places from which people can arrive in England without having to self-isolate for 14 days.
The new measures will come into force from Friday (10 July). The list of exempt countries includes France and Italy, but not Portugal.
The exemptions apply to all modes of international transport, including sea and international rail routes as well as flights, but do not apply where travellers have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.
The Department for Transport (DfT) described the arrangement as ‘travel corridors’ but conceded that ‘not all of [the countries involved] have ended restrictions for UK tourists when they arrive there’. Ministers had hoped that exemptions would be reciprocal.
The Foreign Office (FCO) also changed its travel advice at the weekend. Since March it has been advising against all but essential travel, but this advice has been lifted for some destinations.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.’
The DfT warned people to stay alert to any changes to local public health measures while they are travelling, including by subscribing to FCO travel advice updates.
All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK, including details of countries or territories they have been in or through during the previous 14 days.
The DfT pointed out that devolved administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, ‘and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there’.
Officials said the Government continues to work closely with international partners around the world to discuss arrangements for travellers arriving from the UK and will continue this engagement ahead of the changes coming into force.