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People travelling into the UK from dozens of countries will no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks, according to new coronavirus rules.
From Friday, quarantine requirements for people returning to or visiting England, Wales and Northern Ireland within the “travel corridor” of around 60 countries and territories will be relaxed.
Early Friday morning, the Foreign Office (FCO) also announced it would be removing Serbia from the list “based on the latest assessment of Covid-19 risk.”
#Serbia has been removed from the list of countries exempt from FCO advice against non-essential international travel, based on the latest assessment of COVID-19 risk. The FCO now advise against all but essential travel to Serbia. Read more: https://t.co/ZJMf0dUEyW pic.twitter.com/qpIShabmmw— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) July 9, 2020
Scotland has produced its own smaller list of countries from which passengers are exempt from quarantine rules.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “difficult decision” was based on evidence and was necessary to protect the region from a resurgence of the virus.
Passengers passing through Gatwick Airport’s north terminal early on Friday morning admitted they would not be travelling if they were still required to self-isolate for two weeks on their return.
“We probably would have gone later,” said Ray Gordge, 64, from Taunton, who was on his way to Paris to see his daughter for the first time in six months, and meet his new grandson, born last week.
“It’s exciting, I’m pleased the quarantine has been lifted to be honest,” he told the PA news agency. “It’s nice to have a bit more normality.”
Mr Gordge said he only booked his easyJet flight in the last few days, but had no concerns about travelling.
“I think it’s OK as long as you’re wearing a face mask. It’s very strange.”
Under previous rules introduced on June 8, most travellers who arrived in the UK had to quarantine for 14 days when they returned home or risk fines of up to £1,000.
Travellers who arrived before Friday will still be expected to complete the period of self-isolation.
The FCO has continued to warn against journeys on cruise ships.
The rule change comes as a survey suggested people in four European countries are more likely to oppose inbound UK tourists this summer than they are visitors from the rest of the continent.
While between 40% and 54% of Spaniards would disprove of tourists from a group of European nations, the figure rises to 61% for those from the UK, a YouGov poll indicated.
The opposition of UK holidaymakers is 58% in Germany, 55% in France and 44% in Italy.
Each country would be more welcoming to other European nations, according to the research.
Meanwhile the World Health Organisation has warned the coronavirus pandemic is “getting worse”.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said: “The pandemic is still accelerating. The total number of cases has doubled in the last six weeks.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.