UK coronavirus LIVE: Country gears up for Super Saturday as quarantine set to be axed for more than 50 countries

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  • July 3, 2020
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Holidaymakers have been told the quarantine policy for those returning to England from destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Germany is being lifted.

The full list of countries are set to be revealed later today. The Foreign Office will also set out a number of destinations which will be exempt from its policy of advising against all non-essential overseas travel. That change will come into effect on Saturday, allowing people to take holidays overseas with regular travel insurance policies.

It comes as Brits are being warned “not to overdo it” when pubs and restaurants reopen in England on what has been daubed “Super Saturday” .

Leading a Downing Street press conference later, Boris Johnson will tell the public that the health of the economy “is dependent on every single one of us acting responsibly”.

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Grant Shapps had hoped UK’s devolved administrations would lift quarantine measures at same time


The Transport Secretary told Times Radio on Friday that leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may change their stance, depending on how it works in England.


He said: “I did want to have the devolved administrations come along at the same time, but they have their own processes to go through.


“So it may well be they look at this and then do decide to agree to it, but, as I said, the system doesn’t come in until July 10.”


Mr Shapps said the list of countries that will be exempt from quarantine measures had been “worked up” with the Joint Biosecurity Centre.


He said: “It’s joint because it includes the chief medical officers of all four nations. It’s then an administrable, a political decision whether those nations want to bring these in or not, and we have to respect (that) and wait for them to reach their decisions.”


Boris Johnson urges Brits to “enjoy summer sensibly” ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions on Saturday

The Prime Minister told LBC: “Tomorrow we come to step three of the plan that I set out on May 10, that everybody, I think, has understood, or huge numbers of people have understood and followed very carefully and very closely.

“And it’s because people stuck to that plan that we’re now able to carefully and cautiously open up hospitality tomorrow.

“And my message is really for people to enjoy summer sensibly and make sure that it all works.”


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Quarantine rules will not be lifted for travellers arriving from US or Greece

Grant Shapps has said the quarantine rules will not be lifted next week for travellers arriving from the United States or from Greece.


The Transport Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The US, from a very early stage, banned flights from the UK and from Europe so there isn’t a reciprocal arrangement in place in any case there.


“They have got very high numbers of infections, which is why they are not on the list today.


“Greece won’t be on the list in the first place because Greece have said that on July 15 that’s their next review of their own systems.


“Reciprocity can’t come before July 15 for Greece and that is a matter for Greece themselves.”


Scottish Government ‘not given adequate consultation’ over air bridge plans

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf criticised the UK Government’s approach to air bridges, saying the Scottish Government was not given adequate consultation.


Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Reporting Scotland programme, he said he wants to take a “swift” decision and is “all for” a four-nations approach.


“That’s why it is so frustrating that the information that the UK wanted us to consider has either been given to us the night before they intend to make an announcement, including last night, or indeed given to us 30 minutes before a meeting with substantial changes, and of course that is no way to get any kind of agreement,” he said.


Mr Yousaf said the prevalence point – the estimated proportion of the population which is currently infectious – of the virus in Scotland is 0.037 while in England it is “five times higher”.


“There’s some countries that may not be as high-risk as England or a lower risk than England but, clearly, coming into Scotland, if they are a higher risk – France, Italy, Spain all have a higher prevalence point than Scotland does – then clearly that’s going to have a different potential impact in Scotland than it does in England,” he added.


“If our chief medical officer’s advice is such that the impact could be really negative in relation to the progress that we are making then ultimately we will have to take a different approach but it’s not something I would do lightly.”


Record day for London’s cycle hire scheme

London’s cycle hire scheme has seen record demand as people are being urged to avoid public transport amid the coronavirus outbreak.


Transport for London said 51,938 Santander Cycle hires were made on June 24, the most on a working day since it was launched in 2010.


Some 1,700 more bikes are being made available and eight new docking stations will be installed over the summer to boost access to the bikes.


The number of journeys made in London using all types of bikes has surged in recent weeks, particularly for leisure journeys.

The weekend of June 20/21 saw an increase of 151 per cent compared with the same weekend in 2019, TfL said.


People already in quarantine after returning to England will no longer need to self-isolate from July 10

Passengers who are already in quarantine following their return to England will no longer need to self-isolate from July 10, Grant Shapps said.


The Transport Secretary told BBC Breakfast that passengers who are currently isolating for 14 days will be able to break the restrictions legally from next Friday.


He said while “nothing could happen” before July 10, “from that point onward you will be legal not to quarantine yourself”.


“It’s very important to stress the quarantine does exist until July 10,” Mr Shapps said.


The list of countries that will be exempt from quarantine measures includes overseas territories such as the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar, he added.


While quarantine measures will be lifted, passengers arriving in the UK will still need to fill out a “locator form”, Mr Shapps said.


“That asks where you’ve been and where you’re coming back to,” he said.


“It is a criminal offence not to complete that form accurately and there are quite substantial fines.”


Care home staff and residents to be given regular testing

Staff and residents in care homes for people over 65 or with dementia will be regularly tested for coronavirus from next week, the Government has announced.


The Department of Health and Social Care said on Friday that staff will be tested weekly, while residents will receive a test every 28 days as part of a new social care testing strategy.


This is in addition to intensive testing in any care home facing an outbreak or at increased risk of a flare-up, it added.


The repeat testing programme will be rolled out to all care homes for the over 65s and those with dementia which have registered to receive retesting over the next four weeks before expanding to the entire care home sector from August.


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Quarantine: Travellers to be split into green or amber categories

Grant Shapps said the countries people will be able to travel to England from without facing quarantine restrictions will be split into two groups.

The Transport Secretary told BBC Breakfast on Friday that the list of about “50-plus” countries will be divided into either a green or amber category.

Countries in the amber category will have “air bridges”, meaning there is no quarantine either side, while those visiting countries in the green category might have to quarantine when they arrive there, but not when they return to the UK. 

He said: “We have countries in the green category where there are very low occurrences (of coronavirus), and then countries in the amber group. They would include France, Germany, Spain and quite a number of others.

Mr Shapps said: “The countries on the (overall) list mean that when you arrive there you won’t have restrictions unless they are on the green list, those are the countries with very low incidents. We thought it was right to include them.

“I take New Zealand as a good example, they do have restrictions when you arrive, but we thought it was right to include them because people may want to come here from New Zealand and that’s no particular threat to our hard-won gains.

“But on the middle countries, those ones are places where we have reciprocal arrangements in place that if you go there or if you come here, the arrangements are the same both ways round. In other words. You do not have to quarantine.”


Scottish Government ‘disappointed’ by quarantine announcement 

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The UK Government’s latest plans for air bridges, released overnight, include countries which present differing levels of risk.


“Scottish ministers are actively considering the public health impact of these proposals, as well as the data and evidence underpinning them. Once they have done that they will announce any changes in relation to Scotland.


“The public health measures relating to international travel are an important part of the wider response to this pandemic – to protect people and ensure that we limit the introduction of new chains of transmission of the virus when our own infection rates are falling.


“We will take decisions based on scientific advice to protect communities in Scotland. Of course the prospect of cases coming in from elsewhere poses a risk, not just to health but also to our economy.


“It is important to stress that, at any point, changing prevalence of the virus could lead to quarantine requirements on travel from different countries being put in place.


“It is disappointing that the UK Government have chosen to make an announcement on the countries they intend to exempt before a four-nations agreement has been reached.


“We would still like to reach a four-nations approach if possible but that is difficult when the UK Government change proposals and give us last-minute sight of them.”


The new rules which open up foreign summer holidays for millions of families will come in from July 10: 


Visitors from around 60 countries will no longer have to quarantine when arriving in UK – Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps has said travellers to England from around 60 countries and overseas territories will no longer have to quarantine when they arrive in the UK.


The Transport Secretary said the Government will be publishing a full list of countries that will be exempt later on Friday.


“There will be a list of 50-plus countries. If you add in the overseas territories (there will be) 60-something-or-other that will be announced later today,” he told Sky News.


“France, Germany, Italy and Spain will be on that list. It is really important that we have done this in a very careful and cautious way. The most important thing is to maintain the gains that we have had.”


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirms a full list of ‘air bridges’ will be published today: 


Lifting of quarantine restrictions greeted with ‘huge relief’ by travel industry

Responding to the Government’s decision to lift quarantine restrictions in England, a spokesman for travel trade organisation Abta said: “The Government announcement today that lifts quarantine restrictions for returning passengers from 10 July in England will be greeted with huge relief by the travel industry, which can now plan ahead and take summer holiday bookings.


“Travel businesses have been under enormous pressure since the start of the pandemic, and the industry can now start to meet customers’ pent-up appetite for travel.


“Getting the balance of health risk and economic risk is a difficult challenge, and we strongly support the Government in taking this initiative.


“There will be some changes to people’s travel experiences because of the health and safety measures in place to limit Covid-19, and it will be important going forward that customers speak to their travel provider so that they can book and travel with confidence.


“And, of course, continued access to overseas destinations depends on our keeping Covid infection and transmission rates low in this country, so everyone should continue to heed public health guidelines.”


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Our main news this morning. Quarantine for arrivals from ‘low risk’ destinations to be scrapped next week: