UK Bumps Hungary And Portugal From Quarantine Free List

As has become a tradition on a Thursday, the UK has updated its quarantine-free travel list. Following the introduction of a new islands policy on Monday, this is the second time that changes have been made this week. Hungary and Portugal have both been added to the list of countries from which arrivals to the UK will be expected to quarantine.

British Airways take-off
The UK has also revised its list of travel corridors. Photo: Getty Images

Governments around the world are each taking a slightly different approach to handling the COVID-19 crisis. Some have totally closed their borders, and others require passengers to take tests on arrival. Some countries have 14-day quarantine policies for all or most of their arrivals. The UK belongs to the latter category.

Four countries added to the UK’s quarantine list

Every week on a Thursday, the United Kingdom updates its mandatory quarantine list. However, last week was an exception to the norm, with no countries added. However, unusually, states have been added to the list twice this week.

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As of today, four countries were added to the UK’s list. These were Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia, and Reunion. This means that from 4 am on Saturday, all those arriving in England from one of these destinations will need to quarantine for a whole 14-days. England, Scotland, and Wales are all operating on slightly different lists, with Portugal having already joined the Welsh and Scottish lists last week.

Tap Portugal express
Portugal has been re-added to England’s quarantine list. Photo: Getty Images

However, it isn’t all bad news for travelers. For example, while Portugal has been added to the list, the islands of Madeira and The Azores will remain quarantine free for the time being. This is thanks to a new rule that was brought in by the government on Monday.

This means that areas with physical boundaries can be judged as a separate area. Islands fall perfectly into this category. The rules were already used to add Greek isles to the quarantine list while the Greek mainland remained off.

No COVID tests for arrivals

For a while now, the UK’s travel industry has been campaigning for the UK to allow COVID-19 testing as an alternative to fourteen days of quarantine. As long as quarantine is in force, the country’s airlines are struggling to attract many non-essential travelers.

Lufthansa, COVID-19, Testing
So far, the UK has decided against allowing testing on arrival. Photo: Lufthansa

Grant Shapps, the country’s transport minister, had discussed the issue in Monday’s briefing about the island’s rule. However, he ruled out testing for the time being. Shapps did mention that it is possible that COVID-19 tests could one day be used to shorten quarantines down to around five days.

Heathrow Airport has already set up the facilities necessary to begin COVID-19 testing of arrivals. However, the airport is waiting for the green light to start such testing. So far, this has not been forthcoming.

What do you make of the new country list? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!