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Turkey, Poland, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba removed from England travel corridor exempt list

Christian Fernsby |
People arriving into the UK from Turkey, Poland or Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba from 4am Saturday will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks as the countries are removed from the travel exemptions list.

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At the same time, from Friday the penalties issued to people who breach self-isolation after returning from a non-exempt country will increase.

The penalties, which mirror those recently announced for those breaching self-isolation following a positive coronavirus test or contact from Test and Trace, will now increase incrementally for repeat offenders - rising from £1,000 for first offences up to £10,000 for subsequent offences.

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 Poland, Bonaire, and St Eustatius and Saba, leading to ministers removing these from the current list of travel corridors.

A range of factors are taken into account when deciding to remove a country from the exemption list, including the continued increase of coronavirus within a country, the numbers of new cases, information on a country’s testing capacity, testing regime and test positivity rate and potential trajectory of the disease in the coming weeks.

The Turkish Health Ministry has said it has been defining the number of new COVID-19 cases in a different way to the definition used by international organisations such as WHO and ECDC, meaning that the JBC’s risk assessment for Turkey has been updated to reflect the likely impact of this on the data for incidence and test positivity rates.

Data from Poland shows a 66% increase in the weekly incidence (cases) per 100,000, rising from 14.7 on 23 September to 24.4 on 30 September.

Test positivity for Poland has nearly doubled in a week, increasing from 3.9% to 5.8% too.

Data shows there has been a consistent increase in newly reported cases in Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba over the past 2 weeks with a 740% increase in newly reported cases from 5 between 10-16 September to 42 between 24-30 September.

At the same time, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice to advise against all but essential travel to Poland and Turkey.

The FCDO already advises against all but essential travel to Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba.

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