Brits returning to the UK from European car trips via Belgium may not need to quarantine themselves as they travel non-stop across the country.
The UK government said last night that travelers returning from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra are now being asked to self-isolate in the UK for 14 days.
British vacationers wanting to return to the UK by road from destinations like Germany and the Netherlands usually have to pass through Belgium and Luxembourg, the latter also being removed from the exemption list last Friday.
However, travel experts have suggested that Brits could work around the problem by traveling around Belgium or Luxembourg without stopping for fuel or any other reason.
This would mean they wouldn't have to drive hundreds of miles to avoid the two countries – and not have to go into a 14-day quarantine when they were back in the UK.
The Ministry of Transport confirmed to MailOnline today that this is true as long as all passengers stay in the car and no one gets in or out while driving through Belgium.
But when the driver stops, travelers still don't need to self-isolate if there are no new passengers getting on, no one getting off to mingle with people outside, or people getting off but not getting back on.
European vacationers are facing increasingly complicated rules about where to go and where not to go in the face of fear of a second wave of coronavirus.
Yesterday a Covid-19 test system was shown at the Spoor Oost site in Antwerp, Belgium
A lifeguard walked along Ostend beach in Belgium yesterday. The city has put in place a reservation system to ensure social distancing and to track the number of visitors
The 14-day quarantine begins for Brits as soon as they leave Belgium so they can stay in France for four days and then isolate in the UK for ten days.
That, however, assumes that France does not get on the UK's quarantine list – a prospect the British now fear as Covid-19 cases in the country rise.
Adding Belgium to the quarantine list is a headache for travelers as the country is on key routes for people who take or travel by train to the continent.
The Ministry of Transport has already made it clear that rail travelers returning to the UK from Brussels to London via Eurostar must be quarantined upon arrival in the UK.
People went through a check-in gate yesterday to gain access to Ostend beach in Belgium
Yesterday, a woman and a child walked past socially distant huts in a beach club in Ostend
If a car or bus traveling to the UK stops in Belgium, everyone inside will have to self-isolate once they get back to the UK.
What are the UK 14 day quarantine rules for Brits traveling home via Belgium?
These are the UK Government's rules for individuals returning to the UK from continental Europe via Belgium:
1) If you have traveled through Belgium from Germany or the Netherlands, you must self-isolate unless all passengers stayed in the car and no one got off or on during the entire transit through Belgium.
2) If you have traveled through Belgium from Germany or the Netherlands you need to self-isolate if:
- new passengers got on
- The passenger or other passengers got out of the car and mingled with other people (e.g. at a gas station). Then they got back in the car
3) The requirement of self-isolation when traveling through a non-exempt country depends on the movement of passengers on the means of transport during the journey.
4) If a trip includes a transit stop in a non-exempted country, passengers must self-isolate upon arrival in England if:
- new passengers board
- The passenger or other passengers get off the transport and mix with other people. Then they get back on
5) Travelers do not need to self-isolate if during the transit stop in a non-exempt country:
- No new passengers board
- nobody on board gets off and mixes with people outside
- Passengers get off but don't get on again
It was revealed last night that travelers returning from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days after a surge in infections.
The three destinations were officially added to the list of places subject to quarantine rules for arrivals in the UK last night.
Malaysia and Brunei are to be removed from the list so that travelers who come from there no longer have to be quarantined. It is believed that Portugal could follow suit in the coming weeks.
The Daily Mail revealed yesterday how passengers arriving from Belgium would face restrictions after the number of new cases doubled in just a week.
Figures released yesterday evening show the infection rate has risen to 27.8 new cases per 100,000 people.
This beats the UK's most recent rate of 8.4. Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes was forced to introduce drastic new social distancing measures last week to avoid a new national lockdown.
She announced a plan to limit contacts outside of each household to the same five people for a month.
The total number of cases in the Bahamas has quintupled to 751 in the past three weeks.
Earlier this week, the Caribbean country imposed a lockdown that includes closing beaches and leaving their homes only for medication and food.
Last month, international flights were banned from arriving unless they came without passengers to pick up visitors and bring them home.
The cases in the tiny principality of Andorra between France and Spain in the Pyrenees have also increased fivefold since mid-July.
The new restrictions will take effect tomorrow at 4 a.m. Those involving Malaysia and Brunei will be featured on Tuesday at 4 a.m.
The UK's decision to quarantine Spain last month sparked a diplomatic dispute and caught vacationers in Spain, including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
It also angered transportation bosses, who had called for increased testing to reduce isolation time, and feared the future of the sector.
Industry expert Paul Charles from travel consultancy PC Agency said last night: “It was inevitable that Belgium would be added because of the increasing numbers.
“The inclusion of the Bahamas is a sign that even small islands that rely on tourism are not immune to such measures unless they take action quickly enough to reduce the number of cases. This addition in particular will be a wake-up call for the Caribbean. & # 39;
A government spokesman said: "Since mid-July, the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 Belgian residents has increased steadily and the total number of cases has quadrupled over that period.
& # 39; In Andorra, new cases per week increased fivefold over the same period, while in the Bahamas the weekly case rate was 78.6 last week, down from 3.1 in mid-July.
"Brunei and Malaysia were added to the government's travel corridor list after the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus fell."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Deutschland (t) News from the UK Government and updates from the UK Cabinet