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Gibraltar on UK's list of countries exempt from quarantine

Library image of a BA flight in Gibraltar

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent, and Chronicle staff

Gibraltar and the other Overseas Territories are on a list of 73 countries and territories where British holidaymakers can visit without self-isolating on their return to the UK.

The long-awaited list was published by the UK Government on Friday afternoon.

It features popular short-haul destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Fourteen British Overseas Territories including Gibraltar are also included.

Portugal, the US, China and Thailand are among the notable absentees.

Approved destinations pose “a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens” but the list will be kept “under constant review”, the Department for Transport said.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will exempt the approved countries from its advisory against all non-essential travel from today, while the quarantine policy will be amended from July 10.

That means people who depart on Saturday and spend at least six days in one of the listed locations will not need to self-isolate on their return.

Reacting to the news, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: “I am very pleased that the excellent results Gibraltar has to show in response to the pandemic are being recognised by the UK in this decision.”

“It is right for OTs, as part of the British family of nations, to be exempted from this requirement.  It should have been the case from the word go.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also published a separate list of 67 locations which will be exempt from its advisory against all non-essential travel from today.

Several small nations from the quarantine-free list were not mentioned by the FCO, including Fiji, Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in England.

The 14-day self-isolation policy for UK arrivals – bar a handful of exemptions – was introduced on June 8.

It was met with fierce criticism over the impact on the UK’s travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

The UK Government was unable to convince the devolved administrations to sign off on the plan before it was made public.

Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon acknowledged there are “obvious practical reasons” for alignment on the issue but criticised the “shifting sands” of the UK policy.

She said: “When so much is at stake as it is right now, we can’t allow ourselves to be dragged along in the wake of, to be quite frank about it, another government’s shambolic decision process.”

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford described dealing with the UK Government over the last few days as “an utterly shambolic experience.”

He went on: “If ever there was an example of making an announcement first and then trying to work out what you meant by it – that is what we have seen since this announcement was first trailed in the press.”

“And day after day we have attempted to get a sensible answer from the UK Government on how they intend to make these changes, which countries they intend to extend the arrangements to, and I just have to say it’s been an impossible experience to follow.”

Mr Shapps suggested in the Commons on Thursday that the announcement was delayed due to the Scottish Government.