Drone photo of pier in Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. The caribbean blue sea and white sandy beaches can be seen

From the start, covid-19 and travel were going to be complicated. In response to the pandemic, countries began setting out unprecedented border restrictions and safety protocols to curb the spread, and that resulted in the UK’s adoption of a traffic light system.

Green and orange mean go to, or enter from, without the need to quarantine on arrival into the UK. Red however, means 14 days of mandatory quarantine on arrival, for visitors and even for residents. In many cases, it also entails a warning from the Foreign Travel Office stating essential travel only, which invalidates most insurance.

After warnings from PM Boris Johnson about a ruthless new approach to the 14 day quarantine list, the Uk Government has added 6 countries previously exempt from 14 days of quarantine on arrival into the UK, to the UK’s mandatory 14 day quarantine list.

UK Updates 14 Day Quarantine List

All arrivals from Aruba, France, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, and Turks & Caicos will need to spend 14 days in self isolated quarantine, upon entering the UK, from Saturday, August 15th at 0400 BST. The restriction applies to visitors, as well as those returning home.

The stunning announcement is fresh on the heels of yet another UK Government move throwing uncertainty into summer travel.

Belgium, The Bahamas and Andorra were already removed from the UK’s “Travel Corridor” list just days ago, losing their exemption to 14 days of quarantine on arrival for all visitors and returning residents. Now, anyone arriving from these destinations must quarantine.

With an effective start date of Saturday at 0400 hours, anyone entering the UK, or returning, from one of these places needing to self isolate will cause a flood of traffic, as travellers try to get in before the rush. With no testing at UK borders, or prior to flight, this brings its own set of problems. This comes in contrast to Germany, and France, where testing is free for arrivals.

Luxembourg City sunset top view in Luxembourg

The news comes just a few weeks after Spain was also removed from the exempt list, and Luxembougr not long after. Going the other way, with countries which now won’t need to isolate, Malaysia and Brunei join Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia on the “good” list.

Quite a few European countries are teetering on the edge of supposed UK metrics for determining covid-19 green, orange or red stoplight status.

It’s yet another brutal blow for the travel industry, which has urged UK Government to employ mandatory covid-19 testing to replace unpredictable quarantines which crush travel demand. To date, no fines have been levied to quarantine rule breakers.

Safest Bets For Summer Travel Without Quarantine

Santorini Greece Blue Top

Due to the potentially rapidly changing landscape covid-19 presents, no country is simply a sure thing for near term travel, but there are some which appear less likely to be added to quarantine lists than others.


Hungary, Italy, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Germany, Latvia, Norway and Ireland still boast some of the lower covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents, which makes these countries less likely to end up on the wrong side of the UK Quarantine.

Before booking, it’s essential to check entry restrictions, due to the rapidly changing nature, and bans for some arrivals.


Italy and Greece may be of particular interest to travellers, given the unprecedented conditions to visit, with thousands upon thousands of daily cruise travellers missing from action. In other words, it may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see select ports and cities in ways they may not be seen again for decades.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. «To date, no fines have been levied to quarantine rule breakers»
    Are you sure about this? Bloomberg reported 3 people had been fined by July, 27

  2. So it is not a Brexit ploy then? 😉 (A previous theory you had.)

    Before you rush to conclusions, I’m not a Brexit or Remain supporter.

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