Cyprus removed from safe travel list for British holidaymakers
Cyprus and the Baltic state of Lithuania have become the latest countries added to the UK quarantine list.
The decision from the department of transports means travellers arriving into the UK from the two destinations will have to isolate for 14-days from 04:00 on Sunday morning.
Data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England has indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in both destinations.
The evidence led ministers to remove the countries from the current list of travel corridors, explained a statement.
There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Cyprus over the last two weeks, with a 79 per cent increase in total cases over this time period.
In Lithuania, new cases per week have increased by 47 per cent over the same time period.
At the same time, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has also updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Cyprus and Lithuania.
Penalties for those breaching the self-isolation rules when returning from non-exempt countries have increased from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences, mirroring penalties for those breaching self-isolation following a positive Covid-19 test.
Travel agent representative ABTA said the news spelled further bad news for the sector.
A spokesperson said: “The industry’s optimism from last week’s good news has been short-lived following the removal of Cyprus from the travel corridor list.
“Last minute changes like this further erode consumer confidence in overseas travel and serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need to introduce testing to cut quarantine.
“We need to get people travelling again to support travel businesses and save jobs.
“The government needs to urgently act on testing, introduce a regional travel corridor approach and lift the global travel advisory against non-essential travel by moving back to country specific advice.
“If you are due to travel to Cyprus imminently, we strongly recommend you speak to your travel company to understand your options, which may include seeing whether you can change your booking to another destination, like one of the Canary Islands, or postpone your booking for a later date.“