Switzerland and Czech Republic among new countries added to quarantine list

Travellers arriving in the UK from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica will have to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.

The new restrictions are coming into force in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Cuba, however, is being added to the list of countries exempt from quarantine.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Travellers exit Heathrow Airport Terminal 2 on August 22, 2020 in London, England. As of Saturday morning at 4am, travellers arriving in England from Austria, Croatia, and Trinidad and Tobago were required to quarantine themselves for 14 days. At the same time, travellers from Portugal were no longer required to quarantine. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Image: Travellers have waited nervously for the weekly quarantine announcements

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the decisions were “carefully made” after research from the Joint Biosecurity Centre.

Holidaymakers hoping to squeeze in a break before the end of summer have had to wait nervously each week for the decision about changes to the so-called “travel corridors”.

An aerial picture shows crowds of people, including foreign tourists, enjoying the sun and the sea on August 21, 2020, in Split on the central Adriatic coast. - As United Kingdom removed Croatia from the list of "safe countries" to travel due to rising number of cases of COVID-19 throughout the country, many British tourists arrived at airport to return back to their country because of stricter measures when returning from Croatia. (Photo by Damir SENCAR / AFP) (Photo by DAMIR SENCAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Some Britons have tried to squeeze in a holiday before the end of summer

Switzerland had been expected to be added to the quarantine list, after more than 300 new cases were recently reported in a 24-hour period – the highest increase since mid-April.

The Czech Republic has also seen a 25% increase in cases in the last week and Jamaica’s infections have shot up from 4.3 per 100,000 people to 20.8 in the past seven days, according to data cited by the Department for Transport.

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The UK government says countries which see infections rise above 20 per 100,000 people in a week are of particular concern.

Scotland added Switzerland to its quarantine list last week but otherwise made the same changes as England and Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Wales has adopted the same policies and also added Singapore to its list of countries where travellers arriving from are exempt from quarantine.

Image: Switzerland recently reported its highest 24-hour increase in cases since April

Tourists to Spain were hit last month by the decision to advise against all but non-essential travel to the mainland and popular islands.

Then travellers to France were given just a few days’ notice that they would face a 14-day quarantine upon their return home earlier in August.

But so far, just 10 fines have been issued to people who broke COVID-19 travel quarantine rules, according to the latest figures.

Nine of the fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were handed out by Border Force officials at the border and one was given by the police.

The Border Force can issue FPNs of between £100 and £1,000 to those who break government rules on the completion of passenger locator forms.

Across the UK, the latest daily update showed 12 more people have died with coronavirus – taking the total to 41,477.