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COVID-19

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule

The UK government will lift its 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement for arrivals in England from “lower risk countries” including Spain, Germany, France and Italy, but not Sweden. The restriction may continue to apply for those arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

UK publishes list of European countries exempt from quarantine rule
AFP

The date for quarantine to be lifted was initially scheduled to be July 6th but the UK’s Department for Transport announced on Thursday it had been pushed back to July 10th.

A full list of countries from which arrivals will no longer need to self-isolate was published on Friday (see below)

The list of nationals exempt from 14 days of self-isolation upon arrival in England included travellers from European countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Greece, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium and Norway but not Portugal or Sweden given their recent spike in cases.

From July 10th anyone arriving in the UK by train, coach, ferry or air ill not have to enter quarantine for 14 days.

These countries will have “reciprocal arrangements” in place, meaning travellers from the UK will not have to quarantine on arrival there either. So travellers to and from France will not have to enter obligatory or voluntary self-isolation.

Some 59 countries deemed low or very low risk will be exempt from the UK's blanket quarantine rules.

The UK’s Department for Transport also said that the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “will set out their own approach”, meaning the quarantine lifting applied to England alone and that passengers arriving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there”.

The latest news from the Scottish press suggests that the 14-day quarantine will remain in place in England’s northerly neighbour after July 10th, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon having been particularly critical of British PM Boris Johnson's approach to easing coronavirus lockdown measures. 

No decision has been made on whether Wales or Northern Ireland will follow England in lifting the 14-day quarantine on July 10th.

Currently travellers arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 (€1,100) if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, and a £480 (€532) fine in Scotland. 

The full list available here is:

Member comments

  1. “Train, coach, ferry or air” – what about folk who drive and use the Channel Tunnel? That doesn’t seem to be covered by the list.

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POLITICS

Italy’s deputy health minister under fire for questioning Covid vaccines

Opposition leaders called for health undersecretary Marcello Gemmato to resign on Tuesday after the official said he was not "for or against" vaccines.

Italy's deputy health minister under fire for questioning Covid vaccines

Gemmato, a trained pharmacist and member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party, made the remark during an appearance on the political talkshow ReStart on Rai 2 on Monday evening.

READ ALSO: Covid vaccines halved Italy’s death toll, study finds

In a widely-shared clip, the official criticises the previous government’s approach to the Covid pandemic, claiming that for a large part of the crisis Italy had the highest death rate and third highest ‘lethality’ rate (the proportion of Covid patients who died of the disease).

When journalist Aldo Cazzullo interjects to ask whether the toll would have been higher without vaccines, Gemmato responds: “that’s what you say,” and claimed: “We do not have the reverse burden of proof.”

The undersecretary goes on to say that he won’t “fall into the trap of taking a side for or against vaccines”.

After Gemmato’s comments, the president of Italy’s National Federation of Medical Guilds, Filippo Anelli, stressed that official figures showed the Italian vaccination campaign had already prevented some 150,000 deaths, slashing the country’s potential death toll by almost half.

Vaccines also prevented eight million cases of Covid-19, over 500,000 hospitalisations, and more than 55,000 admissions to intensive care, according to a report from Italy’s national health institute (ISS) in April 2021.

Gemmato’s comments provoked calls for him to step down, including from the head of the centre-left Democratic Party, Enrico Letta.

“A health undersecretary who doesn’t take his distance from no-vaxxers is certainly in the wrong job” wrote the leader of the centrist party Action, Carlo Calenda, on Twitter.

Infectious disease expert Matteo Bassetti of Genoa’s San Martino clinic also expressed shock.

“How is it possible to say that there is no scientific proof that vaccines have helped save the lives of millions of people? You just have to read the scientific literature,” Bassetti tweeted. 

In response to the backlash, Gemmato on Tuesday put out a statement saying he believes “vaccines are precious weapons against Covid” and claiming that his words were taken out of context and misused against him.

The Brothers of Italy party was harshly critical of the previous government’s approach to handling the Covid crisis, accusing the former government of using the pandemic as an excuse to “limit freedom” through its use of the ‘green pass’, a proof of vaccination required to access public spaces. 

But since coming into power, Meloni appears to have significantly softened her stance.

Her appointee for health minister, Orazio Schillaci, is a medical doctor who formed part of the team advising the Draghi administration on its handling of the pandemic.

Schillaci, a former dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at Rome’s Tor Vergata University, has described the former government’s green pass scheme as an “indispensable tool for guaranteeing safety in university classrooms”.

Speaking at a session of the G20 on Tuesday, Meloni referenced the role of vaccines in bringing an end to the Covid pandemic.

“Thanks to the extraordinary work of health personnel, vaccines, prevention, and the accountability of citizens, life has gradually returned to normal,’ the prime minister said in a speech.

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