Brits being locked out of Europe by new EU quarantine laws as Ireland and Finland become first to enforce

BRITS face being locked out of EU countries due to new quarantine measures being enforced, with Ireland and Finland the first to follow the new restrictions.

Last week, it was revealed that the European Commission was looking into new measures to be followed by all EU countries regarding entry restrictions based on the Covid-19 outbreak in each country.

While the UK is being treated as an EU state until the end of the year due to the Brexit transition period, the country is not included in the discussions.

The new rules would place a country on the 'red list' and enforce quarantine if they have new cases higher than 50 over 14 days and positive tests are three per cent or more, or if new infections are more than 150 over 14 days.

The UK saw the Covid rate over 14 days hit 51.1, while positive tests are at six per cent – placing it on the red list.

Ireland and Finland are to be the first countries to enforce similar restrictions to this, essentially locking Brits out of travelling to the countries.

The Irish government is expected to announce the new rules, The Telegraph has revealed, which would follow the EU restrictions.

Similarly, Finland will enforce a similar measure, where anyone arriving from a country with more than 25 new infections per 100,000 people will have to quarantine and take coronavirus tests, from this weekend.

Both countries already enforce 14-day quarantines on British arrivals, although the new measures will keep the UK off the list much longer.

If other countries follow suit, such as France, Spain and Germany, who are all thought to be considering the new rules, Brits could find themselves off the travel list for countries in the EU unless the coronavirus infection rate improves.

Quash Quarantine spokesperson Paul Charles explained: "It is good news that consensus is being agreed but bad news for travellers leaving the UK because our numbers are getting worse and people are going to have to quarantine in other countries."

Using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the UK's daily rate is much higher than other countries currently on the quarantine list, including the Greek islands and Bulgaria.

The new EU measures would use the following information as part of a traffic light system ranging from red to green.

  • New coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over two weeks
  • Percentage of positive tests over seven days
  • Number of tests taken per 100,000 people over seven days

To be classed as orange, countries would have to have less than 50 new cases per 100,000 people but three per cent of tests being positive – or if cases are between 25-150 per 100,000 but positive tests are under three per cent.

While countries can enforce their own travel rules, the European Commission urged a "common criteria" between EU countries, although one diplomat called the plans "laudable," adding that countries would still use their own criteria for restrictions.

The UK, using ECDC data, currently enforces quarantine restrictions on countries which have more than 20 new cases per 100,000 people, over a seven day period.

This has seen countries including France, Spain, Malta and Croatia removed from the safe travel list.

The government announced earlier this week that a new approach will now enforce regional restrictions to allow holidays to continue to areas with low cases.

Greece is the first country to see this implemented, with seven Greek islands on the quarantine list while other islands and the mainland remain unaffected.

It is hoped similar measures could be introduced for Spain, which remains on the travel ban list but hopes to allow holidays to the Balearic and Canary Islands.

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