The announcement this Thursday afternoon, that the UK Government plans to remove The Canary Islands from their safe corridors list comes just ahead of their new “Test to Release” programme which starts next week. It will allow travellers arriving into England to reduce the amount of time that they must spend in quarantine by more than half, just so long as they are willing to pay for an approved COVID test after five days. If the result is negative, they will be free to mix with others.
These new rules come into force from 15 December and the tests, from a list of private firms, are expected to cost between £65 and £120 (€70 – €130).
Though this is still an added expense, it does hold out at least some hope that those who are able to afford the extra time, will still seek some winter sun, followed by an enforced minimum of five days at home over the holiday season.
For many holidaymakers, already booked, their expectation of having had to pay for a PCR test, will have seen them save money on their overall budget, due to The Canary Islands no longer requiring more than an antigen test for entry to the islands, as was announced today. Even including the expense of Test to Release, some visitors will be saving between £30 and £70, when all is said and done, on no longer needing the PCR test prior to arrival on the islands. This at least lessens the blow, and perhaps gives rise to some light relief over Christmas while sun seekers weigh up the options for staying longer out here with us, or having to head home, at least 5 days early, to fit in with other schedules.
2020’s a doozy, ain’t she!?
Travel corridors and exempt jobs
The Test to Release scheme is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England. You don’t need to self-isolate if:
- you are returning from somewhere on the travel corridor list
- you have only been in the UK or a country on the travel corridor list in the past 14 days
- your job is listed as being exempt from the requirement to self-isolate
You can also opt-in to the Test to Release scheme if you have a qualified exemption and are only allowed to leave self-isolation for some, work-related activities. For example, seasonal agricultural workers.
Why self-isolating is important
Self-isolating will help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS.
England has also introduced a quarantine exemption for certain categories of travellers, including people making high-value business trips, sports stars and performing arts professionals.