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Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland off safe travel list

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Holidaymakers are set to scramble back to England from the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland as the countries have been booted off the safe travel corridor list.

These destinations have been removed from the quarantine exempt list for arrivals from 4am Saturday 29 August.

This means anyone arriving in England from these destinations, whether by train, ferry, coach, air, or any other route, even a transit stop, will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The government said the destinations have been removed from the list of safe travel corridors for England as data showed a significant increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England said there has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in the Czech Republic over the past three weeks. There has been a 25% increase from 1,723 between 14-20 August to 2,152 between 21-27 August.

In Jamaica, the weekly cases per 100,000 has increased from 4.3 on 20 August to 20.8 on 27 August – a 382% rise.

Switzerland has seen a 19% increase in weekly cases from 18.5 per 100,000 to 22 in the week to 27 August.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its travel advice to the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland – advising against all but essential travel.

Meanwhile, Cuba has been added to the safe travel corridor list so holidaymakers won’t need to quarantine upon return to England from 4am Saturday 29 August. This is as long as they haven’t been in or transited through any other exempt countries within 14 days preceding arrival. It comes as the island has seen a decrease in confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The FCO travel advisory against visits to Cuba currently remains, though it is expected to be updated once the exemption is lifted tomorrow morning.

All travellers, including those from destinations on the travel corridors list, will still be required to show a completed passenger locator form on arrival into the UK unless they fall into a small group of exemptions.

Insurance and pay implications

FCO warnings are important as they are usually the trigger for travel insurance cover. When one is in place, it usually means you can claim for cancellation on your travel insurance if you can’t travel.

If you decide to travel despite an FCO warning, your insurance will normally become invalid.

When it comes to being paid while self-isolating, there’s no automatic right to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). SSP applies to other types of self-isolation, such as if you show symptoms of coronavirus.

However, the government yesterday announced that people on low incomes who need to self-isolate but can’t work from home in areas where there are high rates of coronavirus will receive a new payment worth up to £182 (£13 a day).

To claim, people need to be in receipt of Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. Currently the trial is operating in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham. If successful, it will be rolled out further.

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