The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn against all but essential travel to Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas.
Travel advice for each country was updated on Thursday evening and the Department for Transport also removed them from its list of ‘safe’ destinations, or travel corridors, first introduced last month.
It means those returning to England from the three countries must self-isolate for 14 days. The restrictions on arrivals from these countries will be implemented from 4am on Saturday August 8.
Brunei and Malaysia, meanwhile, have been added to list of travel corridors for England having been assessed by the Joint Biosecurity Centre as posing a lower infection risk. The changes will come into force from 4am Tuesday August 11.
The FCO also removed its advice against all but essential travel to the two countries.
The changes triggered speculation that France could be added to the UK quarantine list amid concerns of a second wave of Covid-19 in the country.
France’s weekly rate has overtaken that of Portugal, which has reduced its coronavirus cases to the extent that ministers are considering lifting the travel ban to the country next week and allowing flights to the mainland and the Azores and Madeira.
Government sources stressed to the Telegraph there was no imminent decision on France as it recorded its highest daily number of new Covid-19 cases in two months, with 1,695 positive tests, slightly fewer than the 1,772 seen in Spain.
The DfT said: “The government has made consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus, including removing countries from the travel corridors list rapidly if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.
“There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 of the population in Belgium since the middle of July, with a 4-fold increase in total cases over this time period. In Andorra, new cases per week have increased 5-fold over the same time period, while in The Bahamas the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 last week, up from 3.1 in mid-July.”
A spokesperson for Eurostar, which runs trains to Brussels, said: “We will continue to monitor demand and adapt our timetable accordingly if necessary, whilst ensuring that those that need to travel can continue to do so at a safe distance.”
The transport secretary Grant Shapps announced both decisions on Twitter.
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