UK returnees face a new normal. Quarantine mandates ensure safety, but the isolation challenges mental health. As UK returnees navigate this solitude, communities must support them. Solidarity can alleviate the burdens returnees bear. Soon, returnees hope, UK policies will adapt, fostering easier transitions post-quarantine.
The UK government has announced a reduction in the quarantine period for people returning to the country. Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, revealed that the quarantine period will be shortened from 14 days to 7 days as part of a significant change in travel restrictions. Currently, anyone returning from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days unless they have traveled from one of the few exempt destinations.
Shapps, addressing the virtual ABTA travel industry conference, stated that travelers will be required to self-isolate at home and take a coronavirus test a week after landing. He also ruled out the implementation of testing on arrival at UK airports and ports.
This decision comes in response to repeated calls from the UK’s travel sector for airport testing to reduce quarantine periods. Shapps explained, “We’re proposing a domestic test regime, where people land and wait a week, have a test, and get an early release. We’re also proposing an internationally recognized system, in which Britain would be a trailblazer, where tests and isolation take place before and after travel and would require no quarantine.”
However, Shapps did not specify the exact starting date for the planned testing scheme. He emphasized that the importance of the travel and tourism sectors is widely recognized by the government. They have been working diligently throughout the summer to revive tourism and travel, including creating travel corridors to allow families to enjoy holidays after months of lockdown.
“We created those travel corridors to give families the chance to enjoy a holiday after those months of lockdown. But from the very start, we’ve had to be cautious because as we know, new Covid spikes risk wider restrictions down the line and ultimately, even more pain for travel firms,” Shapps said.
Shapps also announced that travel from specific Greek islands, including Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini, and Zakynthos, will no longer require self-isolation upon arrival in England. He confirmed that no countries are being added to the “red list.” In the preceding week, Turkey and Poland, as well as the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius, and Saba, were added to the quarantine list.