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Estonia and Latvia off safe travel list

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People arriving in the UK from Estonia or Latvia this weekend will need to self-isolate for two weeks, the government has confirmed.

Estonia and Latvia have been removed from the quarantine exempt list for arrivals from 4am Saturday 28 November.

It comes as 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 coronavirus in these destinations.

There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Estonia over the past week, with a 25% increase in total cases over this time period. In Latvia, new cases per week have increased by 16% over the same time period.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Islands, Bhutan, Timor-Leste, Mongolia and Aruba have been added to the list of travel corridors for the UK.

This means from 4am on Saturday 28 November, passengers arriving into the UK from these destinations will no longer need to isolate as long as they’ve not been in or transited through any exempt countries in the 14 days before arrival.

Further, the travel ban on Denmark which was imposed on 7 November is lifted as the Covid-19 virus in minks is receding. However, it remains off the government’s travel corridor list meaning any passengers coming into the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Estonia and Latvia. It also is not advising against all but essential travel to Aruba and Bhutan.

However, it continues to advise against all but essential travel to Denmark, Mongolia, Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

Given that national restrictions were introduced on 5 November, these remain in place until 2 December which means everyone must stay at home unless travelling for a very limited set of reasons, including for work or education.

As such, holidays and international travel aren’t allowed unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. Those in breach of the rules face penalties starting at £200 and rising to a maximum of £6,400.

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 test or contact from Test and Trace.

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