England To Lift Quarantine Rule For More Than 50 Nations — But Not For The U.S.
England will lift a 14-day quarantine requirement on travelers from more than 50 countries and territories that have been a deemed a "reduced risk" for spreading the coronavirus, the U.K. government has announced.
The rule change will go into effect on July 10 and will apply to places such as Italy, Spain, Germany and France, according to the government. The U.S., however, is not listed among the countries exempt from the self-isolation rule.
All international forms of travel to England will be included, and travelers from a smaller list of countries will also be exempt from contact tracing requirements.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own public health policies and have not announced changes to the restrictions.
Currently, with more than 285,000 cases, the United Kingdom leads Western Europe in the number of reported coronavirus infections.
The Department for Transport said officials will continue to review the list of exempt countries and reinstate the quarantine rule if the risk of coronavirus spread increases.
"The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in the announcement.
The requirement for foreign travelers to self-isolate has been in place for a month, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports, noting the rule has been blamed for devastating the British travel industry.
Officials also hope that exempt countries would, in turn, reduce restrictions on travelers from the U.K., particularly as the summer holiday gets well underway.
"This will mean that holidaymakers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey," the announcement stated.
Earlier this week, the European Union also left the U.S. off its list of more than a dozen countries deemed approved travel partners because they have been able to bring the coronavirus under control.
The United States has more than 2.7 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker, though health experts believe the actual number may be far higher.