Travel: Grant Shapps issues warning on booking holidays
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The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issues up-to-date travel advice for Britons abroad. Holidays could be set to go ahead from May 17, should Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” out of lockdown move forward as planned, and many nations have begun to lift restrictions on UK travellers.
However, a new wave of cases in some EU destinations is causing concern.
With many Britons eyeing potential holidays to the likes of France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal, what is the latest FCDO advice?
The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel to the whole of France” based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
Last week the nation announced plans to lift restrictions on UK travellers hoping to visit the country, despite the fact the nation is currently battling a third wave of coronavirus.
French tourism minister, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne stated travellers arriving from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Singapore, and the UK will no longer need to prove a “compelling reason” for their visit.
Posting on his Twitter account, the French tourism minister said: “The list includes Britain because the UK variant now also circulates widely in France.”
However, Britons will still be required to provide a negative coronavirus test result taken within 72 hours of travel.
The FCDO adds: “Arrivals from the UK will need to complete both a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight, and a signed ‘travel certificate’ (attestation), confirming their reason for travel.”
The FCDO further warns of lockdown restrictions which remain in place across the country.
“From January 16, a national curfew is in place from 6pm to 6am,” it explains.
“These measures may change at short notice either at national or at local level. Some areas have introduced additional restrictions in response to a rise in cases.
“You should check local guidance for further information.”
Travellers returning from France to the UK will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel to the whole of Italy” based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
Italy has recently seen an increase in coronavirus cases and is eyeing a new lockdown to try and curb the spread.
The nation continues to impose travel restrictions applicable to Britons.
According to the FCDO website: “From 6 March until 6 April, entry into Italy is only permitted to residents or those with absolute necessity including urgent work, health needs or study requirements.
“Until 6 April, those wishing to fly must present the airline with a negative COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test taken no more than 72 hours before entry into Italy.
“You must also take a COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test within 48 hours of entering Italy – arrivals by air from the UK will take this test at the airport.
“Whatever the result of the 2 swab tests, those arriving in Italy from the UK must also report to their local health authorities on arrival and self-isolate for 14 days.”
Britons returning from Italy are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
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The FCDO is currently advising against “all but essential travel to the whole of Spain, but excluding the Canary Islands” based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
Last week Spain made the decision to further extend its ban on arrivals fro the UK, as well as Brazil and South Africa, until March 16 at the earliest.
Passengers hoping to visit the nation must meet specific requirements.
The FCDO explains: “These measures have been extended until 6pm (GMT+1) on March 16 2021 (5pm / GMT in the Canary Islands), with the exception of Spanish and Andorran nationals and those legally resident in Spain or Andorra.”
The travel authority detailed the testing measures in place.
“Additionally, all passengers (excluding children under the age of six years old) travelling to Spanish airports from ‘risk’ countries, as determined by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control are required to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country.”
Arrivals returning to the UK from Spain must self-isolate for 10 days.
The FCDO is currently advising “against all but essential travel to Greece based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
However, the FCDO is not advising “against travel to the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete.”
Greece recently detailed plans to welcome back Britons from May 15, along with other tourists.
Travellers would not be required to have a vaccine, as long as they can provide a negative COVID-19 test.
Until then, some additional entry requirements remain in place.
The FCDO explains: “UK nationals are permitted to enter Greece if they are a permanent resident in the UK, Greece, another EU/EFTA state, or in one of the following countries; Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, UAE.
“If you travel to Greece, you will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before travel.
“Failure to do so in advance may result in your carrier not allowing you to travel, a €500 fine on arrival or the Greek authorities not allowing you to enter the country.”
Arrivals into Greece will also need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, undertaken within the 72 hours prior to travel.
“Anyone entering Greece from the UK will also be asked to undergo a rapid test for COVID-19 on arrival,” the FCDO adds.
“Arrivals from the UK are currently required to self-isolate for 7 days in the event of a negative test result.
“In the event of a positive test result, travellers will have to isolate for at least 14 days. In either case, travellers will need to undertake a further PCR test at the end of their period of self-isolation.”
Arrivals in the UK from Greece must self-isolate for 10 days.
The FCDO is currently advising “against all but essential travel to Portugal based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”
However, there has been some good news for the nation, with the Government expected to be removing it from its “red list” of countries later today.
Reports suggest Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps will be the announcement this evening.
Should that happen, arrivals will no longer be required to self-isolate in a Government-approved hotel.
Travellers hoping to jet off to Portugal for “essential reasons” must still meet certain requirements for now, though.
According to the FCDO: “Flights between the UK and Portugal (including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores) are currently suspended.
“UK nationals in Portugal who wish to return to the UK will have to travel via other airports.”
Those entering Portugal must show a negative RT-PCR test result for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours prior to travel.
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