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Thousands of Britons on vacation in Croatia are running for their homeland


An estimated 20,000 Britons in Croatia are trying to get home at 4 a.m. just hours before the new 14-day quarantine rules come into effect.

The cheapest direct flight from Zagreb to Heathrow today with British Airways was £ 286, while a Croatia Airlines flight between the two airports cost £ 496.

The cheapest flight with change that comes back before 4am tomorrow is £ 230 with Eurowings via Stuttgart. There are also KLM flights over Amsterdam, but this would include quarantine – with the Netherlands already removed from the list of airlifts.

A British mother vacationing in Croatia said today she would not cancel her trip despite the new quarantine forcing her son to miss his first week of school.

Jennie Dock's 11-year-old son Cass Robertson-Dock will self-isolate when his new school starts again after Croatia was removed from the UK airlift list.

But Ms. Dock, who is on vacation with her friend Elle Mitchell, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “We are both fortunate to be able to work from home, both of us working remotely.

“Cass was sixth year last year so he managed to get in for about six weeks in the end, which he really enjoyed. So, yes, it's unfortunate that he will miss the first week but he is a smart boy and he will catch up, I don't worry about that. & # 39;

Cass said of starting secondary school, "I was looking forward to it." It comes as:

  • Vacationers traveling to Portugal will no longer need to self-isolate when they return to the UK after it was removed from the government's quarantine list.
  • The seven-day Croatian Covid case – a metric closely monitored by Downing Street – has risen to 27.4 per 100,000 people.
  • France, Germany and Italy all saw the largest daily surge in cases since the spring of this week, adding to fears of a second wave.
  • Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps also said the question of whether tests for coronavirus could be done at airports is under consideration.

Jennie Dock (right), who is on vacation in Croatia with her friend Elle Mitchell (left) and 11-year-old son Cass Robertson-Dock (center), will self-isolate upon her return to the UK

Undated handout photo of Karl Whitburn returning early from his trip to Split so that his wife, an NHS nurse originally from Croatia, doesn't miss work

A tourist wearing a face mask waits at Split International Airport in Split, Croatia today

Tourists wait at Split International Airport in Split, Croatia today. When the UK removed Croatia from its “Safe Countries” list to travel due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country, many UK tourists arrived at the airport to return to their country due to stricter measures to return

Tourists wait at Split International Airport in Split, Croatia today. When the UK removed Croatia from its “Safe Countries” list to travel due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country, many UK tourists arrived at the airport to return to their country due to stricter measures to return

A passenger inspects the flight schedule at the international airport in Split, Croatia today. Due to the recent situation in Covid-19, tourists returning to the UK from Croatia will have to self-isolate for 14 days due to the changes announced on Thursday

A passenger inspects the flight schedule at the international airport in Split, Croatia today. Due to the recent situation in Covid-19, tourists returning to the UK from Croatia will have to self-isolate for 14 days due to the changes announced on Thursday

Two tourists embrace today at Split International Airport in Split, Croatia

Two tourists embrace today at Split International Airport in Split, Croatia

A sign at Heathrow today warns of self-isolation if they have visited a certain country

A sign at Heathrow today warns of self-isolation if they have visited a certain country

Passengers push their luggage through arrivals at London Heathrow Airport this morning

Passengers push their luggage through arrivals at London Heathrow Airport this morning

Travel expert Simon Calder told Good Morning Britain that prices for flights from Croatia to the UK are now "going through the roof" as people struggle to get home.

British Airways has booked an additional flight from Zagreb to London Heathrow with seats for £ 275.

No flights? How to get home by train from Croatia

British vacationers in Croatia have limited options to get home to clear the quarantine as there are very few direct flights available on Friday.

You could book a flight with a layover on the way back to the UK, but that means a travel time that's more like a transatlantic excursion than a short-haul trip to Europe.

But those who don't mind a long hike might choose to avoid planes entirely and take the railroads all the way home.

A quick online search will reveal possible routes, timetables and prices, so in the next few hours a number of Britons may unexpectedly discover parts of Europe by train.

One possible option, which takes around 20 hours, is to hop on a train in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, and travel through Villach and Salzburg in Austria, Munich in Germany, and on to Paris to catch the Eurostar to London.

Another option would be to leave Zagreb and travel to London via Brussels.

There is also the option to leave Croatia and travel through part of northern Italy – Trieste, Venice and Milan – and on to the French capital before the final leg of the trip across the Canal to London begins.

With train journeys from Zagreb to London taking between 20 and 25 hours, vacationers would have to start their European rail adventure by now to be home by 4 a.m. on Saturday.

That's more than six times the BA equivalent flight on Friday in four weeks, which currently costs just £ 42. An equivalent flight on Friday in two weeks will only cost £ 45.

Mr Calder urged people to look at flights with changes so as not to fly over Paris or Amsterdam as they would then have to be quarantined as well.

However, vacationers traveling to Portugal no longer need to self-isolate when they return to the UK after it was removed from the government's quarantine list.

Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago were put on the "red" list due to the increasing number of Covid cases.

Croatia's total over seven days – a metric closely monitored by Downing Street – has risen to 27.4 per 100,000 people.

Brits who arrive back in the UK after the 4 a.m. deadline will have to spend 14 days under stricter measures than many facing a lockdown as they are not even allowed to go outside to play sports or shop for groceries.

The Croatian ambassador to the UK said it was "regrettable" that the UK government failed to put regional quarantine rules in place instead of removing the entire country from its quarantine exemptions list.

Igor Pokaz told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “We are trying in our ongoing dialogue with the UK government about this particular quarantine measure to see if it is possible to do something other countries are doing in a more nuanced approach.

“We therefore regret that the British government was unable to consider a regional approach, as in Croatia, as I said, we have observed these peaks in certain areas – for example in Zagreb in the capital and perhaps in the young one Population.

“But there were very, very few cases in Dubrovnik, its surroundings and the islands. And I purposely mention Dubrovnik and the islands as this is where most of the UK tourists go.

& # 39; And Dubrovnik has its own international airport and is of course isolated from the rest of the country.

"As I said, Germany has introduced this model and implemented measures for only two of the Croatian districts, and we have 20 districts in Croatia."

Passengers arriving at London Heathrow Airport wearing face masks this morning

Passengers arriving at London Heathrow Airport wearing face masks this morning

The port of Dover in Kent is pictured today when the Minister of Transport rejected the idea of ​​quarantine for arrivals from regions of countries

The port of Dover in Kent is pictured today when the Minister of Transport rejected the idea of ​​quarantine for arrivals from regions of countries

Cars and trucks pull away from a ferry at Dover Harbor in Kent this morning

Cars and trucks pull away from a ferry at Dover Harbor in Kent this morning

People were waiting for planes at Split Airport in Croatia yesterday to get home quickly

People were waiting for planes at Split Airport in Croatia yesterday to get home quickly

Passengers were seen at Split Airport yesterday as the UK removed Croatia from its "safe countries" list due to the rising number of cases across the country

Passengers are seen at Split Airport yesterday as the UK removed Croatia from its "safe countries" list due to the rising number of cases across the country

Liam and Jodie, a married couple from Keighley, West Yorkshire, paid around £ 800 to travel home from northern Croatia via Munich to exceed the quarantine period after it was impossible to book a direct flight on time.

The Yorkshire couple pays £ 800 to travel home from northern Croatia via Munich to exceed the quarantine period

Liam and Jodie, a married couple from Keighley, West Yorkshire, paid about £ 800 to travel home from northern Croatia via Munich to exceed the quarantine period after it was impossible to book a direct flight on time.

Liam and Jodie from Keighley, West Yorkshire, traveling home from Croatia via Munich to avoid quarantine

Liam and Jodie from Keighley, West Yorkshire, traveling home from Croatia via Munich to avoid quarantine

& # 39; There was no alternative. There are no flights from Pula to the UK on Fridays, only one flight from Zagreb to London, but that was obviously fully booked, ”Liam said.

"The only (other) flights available were stopovers in Spain via Ryanair, but then we would still have to quarantine," he added.

Liam, a mechanical engineer, said he recently started a new job "not to want to miss another two weeks of work".

He added that despite "the distraction of not knowing what was going to happen" they tried to make the most of their trip and viewed their visit to Munich as "a city break we got as an extra".

& # 39; There was no alternative. There are no flights from Pula to the UK on Fridays, only one flight from Zagreb to London, but that was obviously fully booked, ”Liam said.

"The only (other) flights available were stopovers in Spain via Ryanair, but then we would still have to quarantine," he added.

Liam, a mechanical engineer, said he recently started a new job "not to want to miss another two weeks of work".

He added that despite "the distraction of not knowing what's going to happen", the two had tried to make the most of their trip and viewed their visit to Munich as "a city break we got as an extra".

Graham Lloyd-Bennett and his wife Karla said they were closely following the local coronavirus data while they were in Croatia to visit their family and making swift plans to get out as soon as they were likely to be included on the exception list would.

"I came back on August 10th because I suspected Croatia would be on the red list and I couldn't afford to be quarantined for work. That's why I changed my flight earlier."

He added that they had also switched his wife's flight on Monday to meet the expected 4 a.m. Saturday deadline, following imposed on travelers from France and a number of other countries last week.

& # 39; We monitored the situation every day and decided to postpone your flight a week earlier to today in order to avoid quarantine as well.

“When we decided to fly to Croatia, we were aware that there might be changes.

“I can't understand why people are complaining as it is a personal choice to travel during these times. Of course, it's annoying and stressful, but it has to be done. & # 39;

However, Portugal received a clean health certificate after months on the quarantine list.

The number of cases over seven days is now 14.6 per 100,000 people. It remains on March 14th. About Greece and on 11.2. About Great Britain.

The government's quarantine threshold is said to be 20.

With yesterday's changes, thousands of families could now spend the last minute summer holidays in the Algarve, Lisbon or Porto before students go back to school next month.

According to Cirium, an aviation data analyst, there are 719 flights between the UK and Portugal with a total capacity of nearly 128,000 seats.

Despite the easing of some restrictions, industry leaders warned of dark times.

Vacationers are lining up at Split Airport in Croatia today to check-in for their flights home

Vacationers are lining up at Split Airport in Croatia today to check-in for their flights home

The British family on vacation in Croatia had already canceled a trip to Barcelona

A British family on vacation in Croatia is now subject to a 14-day quarantine despite having already canceled a vacation in Barcelona when the airlift to Spain was removed.

The Tucker family from Cambridge, who live on the island of Solta off the coast of Split, have found out that they will need to be quarantined in a waterfront cafe on their return to the UK.

Mother Luzita, 50, a childminder, told BBC News: “We have already canceled a vacation in Barcelona due to quarantine rules.

"We always wanted to go to Croatia so we looked at the infection rates and they seemed very low."

She added that the government should run tests at the airport when people arrive back in the UK and that using public transport to get home is also a risk.

Christopher Snelling of the Airport Operators & # 39; Association said: & # 39; The lifting of quarantine for Portugal is to be welcomed, but the reintroduction of blanket quarantine measures in another tranche of nations adds to the significant and ongoing challenge for the aviation industry.

& # 39; Our airports are under pressure that was unimaginable six months ago and the government urgently needs to work with industry to establish regional travel corridors in low risk areas and agree financial measures to support our airports since the beginning have already lost over £ 2bn to the pandemic. & # 39;

The addition of more vacation hotspots to the Red List will also increase pressure on ministers to support virus testing at airports to reduce the need for self-isolation.

Heathrow this week unveiled a multi-million dollar Covid-19 detection area that can test thousands of newcomers.

However, the facility can only be used if ministers endorse airport tests as a viable alternative to a blanket 14-day quarantine.

Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye warned the travel sector – and the economy as a whole – of "final decline" unless the government changes its approach.

Due to yesterday's update, the Federal Foreign Office is now advising against all trips to Croatia, Trinidad and Tobago and Austria.

The changes followed a meeting with the UK's decentralized administrations where Scotland added Switzerland to its own quarantine list.

The country currently has 18.1 cases per 100,000 people, which means travelers from England and Wales may soon be asked to self-isolate if the number continues to rise.

France, Germany and Italy saw the largest daily surge in cases since the spring of this week, adding to fears of a second wave.

Brits are rushing into Portugal's holiday vacation after being on the green list as airfares rise six times, but hotels are cutting prices to fill rooms with lost revenue after the summer

The cost of flights to Portugal has risen but hotels have cut prices as the British are planning a late summer vacation, and the country is now back on the UK's "green list".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced yesterday that quarantine will not be required when returning to the UK from Portugal, so travel companies can expect an increase in bookings in the coming days.

The country is traditionally one of the most popular destinations for British vacationers, attracting 2.1 million visitors annually. However, it was banned during the lockdown.

However, with doors open and a public holiday at the end of the month, the airlines want to benefit from increasing demand.

According to aviation data analyst Cirium, there are 719 flights between the UK and Portugal before students return to school next month, with a total seating capacity of nearly 128,000.

Average prices for Faro – the airport used by holidaymakers in the Algarve – rose from just £ 35 to £ 190 in the hours following Mr Shapps' announcement yesterday.

A website showed that a BA flight ticket from London to Faro had risen from £ 90 to £ 580 in one day – claiming it had been cut from £ 594.

MailOnline's Google search also found a BA round trip from London to Faro, which departed this Saturday – the day the quarantine rule for Portugal is lifted – and returned next Saturday, costing £ 1,069.

London to Faro prices also rose this Sunday, while flights to Lisbon, another popular city break destination, have also increased from around £ 55 to £ 185 since the announcement, according to Google.

The government has pledged to take "decisive steps" to contain the coronavirus, including swiftly removing countries from the list of so-called "airlifts".

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Please be aware that things can change quickly. Only travel if you are satisfied with an unexpected 14-day quarantine if necessary … I speak from experience! & # 39;

Spain was redlisted a day after Mr Shapps flew there for a family vacation last month. This caused him to fly home early to break the quarantine restriction.

Today, Mr Shapps insisted that quarantine checks be carried out and said his wife "accidentally" received a call from Border Force after returning from family vacation.

"I know other people who have had the same calls," the transport minister told BBC Breakfast.

When asked if anyone else had received a fine, he said "yes" but could not provide any figures.

When asked why he was unable to provide detailed information on the data, he said, "Because in this country we allow the authorities to continue their work and they publish the information, not the ministers, that's why."

Mr Shapps said it is important for people to realize that if they don't do the right thing, they can have a criminal record.

Mr Shapps also said that the question of whether tests for coronavirus could be done at airports is currently under consideration.

The Minister of Transport discussed the inability to test at airports and told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “This is not correct. I spoke to John Holland-Kaye, whom you speak of, the head of Heathrow, this week.

"I'm not telling him that at all and we're working closely with him and other airports on possible measures."

Mr Shapps said that suggestions that airport testing could cut a person's quarantine time in half may not be true, adding, “But we are constantly reviewing these things and every month we review the month it takes to quarantine so these things are active be checked.

"It's just that I don't want to put a false hope in the bottle by saying that it's as easy as taking a test at the airport … I often hear this:" Why don't you just test at the airport? it? & # 39; The answer is because it doesn't tell you what to know. & # 39;

He added that tests at airports would not “work on their own” and that airport managers “accept that”.

Mr Shapps also ruled out the introduction of regional quarantine travel rules to avoid blanket bans for entire countries, saying it was "simply not practical".

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti posted pictures of himself on vacation in Croatia on social media, although it was not immediately clear whether he was still in the country

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti posted pictures of himself on vacation in Croatia on social media, although it was not immediately clear whether he was still in the country

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti posted pictures of himself on vacation in Croatia on social media, although it was not immediately clear whether he was still in the country.

He wrote: "Thank you Croatia for a wonderful time off to think about and work on a book about my hometown Gillingham & Rainham."

Mr. Chishti's office did not immediately respond to requests for further details.

In the meantime, vacationers returning to quarantine in the UK could return to cities with higher coronavirus rates than the sun-kissed places they left.

The government's threshold for reviewing quarantine measures is when a country has a 7-day rate of more than 20 cases per 100,000 people.

But some municipal areas in England have much higher rates.

Yesterday's latest figures showed that Oldham in Greater Manchester, which is already under restrictive measures to supply households, had a rate of 78.9 per 100,000 people.

Northampton is almost on par at 78.4, while Blackburn is third with Darwen, where the rate has fallen from 81.5 to 67.5.

In Leicester, which was subject to the UK's first local lockdown, the rate continues to decline but was still at 52.5.

According to the Croatian government, the rate of confirmed cases in Dubrovnik was 16.5 per 100,000 – well below the rate of 27.4 per 100,000 reported by the UK Department of Transport this week.

In the seven days leading up to August 17, the confirmed case rate in Zagreb was 37.9 per 100,000.

Croatia's ambassador to the UK said he regretted that the government did not take a regional approach here instead of enforcing quarantine on people returning from any part of the country.

Igor Pokaz told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “In Croatia, as I said, we saw these peaks in certain areas – for example in Zagreb in the capital and perhaps in the young population.

“But there were very, very few cases in Dubrovnik, its surroundings and the islands. And I purposely mention Dubrovnik and the islands as this is where most of the UK tourists go. & # 39;

The rates in Spain and France quarantined for returning travelers are 60.6 per 100,000 and 30.8, respectively.

The final rate in the UK for the seven days ending August 16 is 11.5 cases per 100,000 people.

What new countries have been removed from the UK's safe travel list?

Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed from the list of safe countries people can travel to without going into quarantine because of fear of experiencing a second wave of Covid-19.

The move, announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Thursday evening, means people traveling from these countries will have to be isolated for two weeks if they return to the UK after 4 a.m. on Saturday.

In addition, Scotland has removed Switzerland from the list of safe travel, so anyone returning from the Alpine country to the north of the border will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

This is what it will mean for vacationers:

When do I have to isolate myself?

The new measures will take effect on Saturday, August 22nd, starting at 4 a.m. This means that travelers returning to the UK from any of these destinations will have around 36 hours to avoid quarantine.

Anyone who returns after this date will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

This applies to people returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the addition of Switzerland applies to people in Scotland.

Has the Safe Travel List been added anywhere?

Passengers coming to the UK from Portugal no longer need to self-isolate as they were added to the travel corridor list from 4 a.m. on Saturday.

Mr Shapps tweeted Thursday evening: "Data also shows we can now add Portugal to the countries included in the travel corridors."

Referring to his own isolation after a family vacation in Spain, Mr Shapps added, “As in all airlift countries, you should be aware that things can change quickly.

"Only travel if you are satisfied with an unexpected 14-day quarantine (I speak from experience!)."

– Why is this happening?

According to official sources, the decision to put the three countries on the quarantine list was based on a "significant change in both the level and the pace of confirmed cases".

The weekly incidence per 100,000 population for Croatia increased from 10.4 on August 12 to 27.4 on August 19 – an increase of 164%.

In Trinidad and Tobago, cases have increased over the past four weeks, with the number of cases between 100,000 people increasing 232% between August 12 and 19.

In Austria, the weekly number of cases per 100,000 population rose from 10.5 on August 13 to 20.3 on August 20, an increase of 93%.

– I have booked a vacation in a country on the list. What should I do?

The FCO does not advise UK nationals to travel to any of the countries on the quarantine list.

Anyone who decides to travel after August 22nd will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

– What about employers whose workers need to be quarantined?

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab previously said that no worker who follows quarantine instructions should be penalized by employers, even if he is paid sick.

He said that if someone follows the law regarding quarantine and self-isolation, "they cannot be penalized".

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