Croatia becomes latest country to be added to UK's quarantine list as Portugal removed

old town harbour and the Lazarettos, called Lazareti in Croatian, of Dubrovnik, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Just outside the majestic walls of Croatia's medieval citadel city of Dubrovnik lies a cluster of small stone houses known as the Lazzarettos of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is popular with British holidaymakers. Credit: AP

Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago have become the latest country to be added to the UK's quarantine list after a spike in infections.

Travellers arriving in the UK after 4am on Saturday these countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days, Grant Shapps has said.

At the same time Portugal will be added to the list of destinations where travellers will be exempt from the requirement to quarantine.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Shapps tweeted: “Data shows we need to remove Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago from our list of #coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN.

“If you arrive in the UK after 0400 Saturday from these destinations, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Data also shows we can now add Portugal to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors.

“As with all air bridge countries, please be aware that things can change quickly.

“Only travel if you are content to unexpectedly 14-day quarantine if required (I speak from experience!)”

A significant increase in Covid-19 infections across Croatia in recent weeks means there has been speculation it would follow France in being removed from the safe travel list.

The number of cases per 100,000 people in Croatia has risen above 20, which is seen as a key benchmark.

The World Health Organization warned the Balkans has "been very much a sub-regional hotspot over the summer period" and the area was a "cause of concern".

Officials said the decision to add the three countries to the quarantine list was based on a “significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases”.

The weekly incidence per 100,000 people for Croatia has increased from 10.4 on August 12 to 27.4 on August 19 – a 164% increase.

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan on the latest measures

In Trinidad and Tobago cases have increased over the past four weeks, with a sharp 232% spike in the number of cases per 100,000 people between August 12 and 19.

In Austria, the weekly number of cases per 100,000 of the population has increased from 10.5 on August 13 to 20.3 on August 20, a 93% increase.

In addition to the list of UK countries no longer on the safe travel list, travellers from Switzerland will have to self-isolate at home or another specified address for 14 days on arrival in Scotland from 4am this Saturday.

Steve Davies, in Croatia, says he will not ‘be panicked’ Credit: Steve Davies/PA

British holidaymakers say changes to travel rules are costing them thousands of pounds.

Steve Davies, from Yeovil, Somerset, is on holiday in Drasnice, Croatia, and said quarantining when he returns will cost him up to £1,200 in unpaid wages, which he said is “more than the cost of the holiday”.

The 50-year-old, who works as a production supervisor for Leonardo helicopters said: “The announcements are a shambles with little warning to return… why can’t the Government work two weeks ahead on these announcements?

“I refuse to be panicked and I will not return early: it’s safer here than where I am in the UK.”

Following the lifted of quarantine on return from Portugal, and Jet2holidays said it will resume its flights and holidays programme to Faro, in Portugal’s Algarve, from Monday, with multiple weekly flights departing from all nine of its UK bases.

Last week, France, the Netherlands and Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba were added to the list of countries that required travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

Austria has been taken off the UK's safe list. Credit: AP

It was announced last Thursday that anyone arriving from those countries after 4am on Saturday had to quarantine, resulting in many people cutting their trips short and huge demand in flights and ferries.

Responding to the latest quarantine list changes, Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “The Government has now made it clear that countries can be removed or added from the travel corridor list at a moment’s notice. That policy currently makes it too risky for anyone who is not able to quarantine for 14 days on return to travel anywhere abroad.

“Yet, those holidaymakers who want to heed the Government warning to not undertake non-essential travel to Spain, France and now Croatia and Austria are finding it increasingly difficult to claim a refund. Many airlines continue to operate flights and refuse customers the option of a refund, then charge eye-watering fees to those who try to rebook.

Travellers arriving back in the UK. Credit: PA

“Meanwhile, the addition of Portugal is likely to come too late to help many struggling holiday companies who are at the point of collapse, as summer trips have already been cancelled. Which? has been asking the Government what support it will provide to the travel industry for several months. That support is now urgently needed.”

After relaxing lockdown at the end of June, the UK government published a list of countries with coronavirus rates low enough for them to be considered safe holiday destinations.

The government has repeatedly warned it is prepared to "rapidly" remove countries from that list, meaning any returnees will be subject to a 14-day period of self-isolation.

The safe list has slowly become smaller as countries relaxed their coronavirus restrictions leading to a rise in infections.