Saturday. 26.11.2022

Britain exempts Finnish travelers from quarantine; Swedes excluded

Sweden, Portugal, the United States, Canada and China are notable omissions from the list of 59 countries and territories. Find in this article the full list.
Travelers at Helsinki Airport. Photo: Finavia.

Britain will exempt travellers from Finland, Germany, France, Spain and Italy from its coronavirus quarantine rule for international arrivals, the government said on Friday.

They are among 59 countries and territories with which Britain has agreed "air bridges" of mutual exemption from quarantine requirements.

Greece and Turkey were also on the list of nations exempted from the requirement for all arrivals to England to self-isolate for 14 days, despite Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying earlier Friday that Greece would not be exempted.

Sweden excluded

Sweden, Portugal, the United States, Canada and China were notable omissions from the list.

Ministers in Scotland's devolved government said they would not automatically follow England's lead, while uncertainty also remained over Wales and Northern Ireland.

But three major airlines operating in Britain said they had dropped their legal challenge to the quarantine rule following the announcement of the air bridges.

"Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation," Shapps said in a statement.

"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," he said.

Shapps warned that Britain would "move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with."

Differences with Scotland

Humza Yousaf, Scotland's justice minister, suggested that his government needed "a few days to work through the public health implications of possible exemptions."

He said the Scottish government had received a list of 70 nations late Wednesday from London.

At least eight of them had "a higher point of prevalence (proportion of population that is infectious) than Scotland," he tweeted.

"This could be as high as 18 countries as we don't have full data for all countries," Yousaf added.

Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of Scotland's devolved government, told reporters later that the British government's handling of the "air bridge" arrangements had been "shambolic."

14 days' quarantine

Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down the differences with Scotland, telling London radio station LBC he was "sure that everybody will work together" to make the air bridges work.

"There will be large parts of the world, I'm afraid at the moment, where you will have to observe 14 days' quarantine when you have come in [to Britain] and that is only right," Johnson told the broadcaster.

"We have made a huge effort in this country to get this virus under control," he said. "We cannot have reinfection from abroad."

Britain has reported Europe's highest death toll of nearly 45,000 linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Its infection rate is believed to remain higher than many European nations.

Countries and territories exemption list


Britain exempts Finnish travelers from quarantine; Swedes excluded