FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – Pack your bags, let’s go back to London. Between today and tomorrow the government of Boris Johnson announces the end of quarantine of two weeks imposed on all arrivals from abroad: the provision will be effective from next Monday. At the beginning of June, Britain had effectively closed its borders: anyone who came from outside, including the British returning, had to isolate themselves for 14 days, under penalty of a fine of 1000 pounds and, at the limit, even expulsion.
A rule that basically blocked incoming and outgoing tourism: for foreigners it made no sense to come to London and then stay two weeks locked in an apartment, while for the British to go on vacation to Spain or Greece involved confinement on the return. Now the quarantine for all will be replaced by a traffic light system: the countries included in a red list (from the United States to Brazil, from Sweden to Portugal), where the contagions are still high, will remain subject to restrictions; those on the orange list (most Europeans, including theItaly) will not have to be quarantined, even if direct travelers there will be cautioned; for green list countries (such as Croatia and Greece) there is a total green light.
The Johnson government initially thought of negotiating “air corridors” for a limited number of destinations: but then this option proved difficult to apply and a list of 75 countries for which there will be no more restrictions was chosen. However, those arriving in Great Britain will probably have to provide the authorities with a contact and address. In any case, in London you can relish a newfound normal: from Saturday finally here pubs, restaurants and museums will reopen, closed for three and a half months now. And the British capital now practically free from Covid, unlike the north of England, where the infections remain high. The quarantine imposed on travelers in June had been severely criticized by the airlines and tour operators: British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair had even filed a lawsuit against the government. Even from within the conservative party there had been strong pressure on Johnson to abandon the measure, which however met with the favor of the majority of the population. But even in this case, as with many other aspects related to the pandemic, Downing Street has addressed the issue in a way clumsy. An announcement was expected on Monday, but was later postponed for Scotland’s objections and Greece’s surprise decision to impose quarantine on incoming British. Now, after many hesitations and second thoughts, it should be the right time.
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