Travellers returning to the UK from Belgium, The Bahamas and Andorra will have to quarantine for two weeks from Saturday.

The three countries have been removed from the government’s ‘safe list’ following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new rule will come into force at 4am on August 8.

France and Malta, which had been at risk of being added to the quarantine list, remain classified as ‘safe’ for now, despite signs of a second wave in the former and cases in the latter trebling in recent weeks.

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Belgium, The Bahamas and Andorra are the latest to be affected by a change in travel advice, after Spain and Luxembourg saw quarantines re-imposed last month.

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The government said data from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and Public Health England indicated a significant change in both the level and pace of confirmed cases of coronavirus in all three countries, leading to ministers removing these from the current list of travel corridors.

There has been a consistent increase in Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in Belgium since the middle of July, while in Andorra, new cases per week have increased 5-fold in the past three weeks and in the Bahamas, the weekly case rate peaked at 78.6 last week, up from 3.1 in mid-July.

Last week, Belgium introduced new restrictions which mean people can only meet the same five people outside their household in a month.

According to figures published on Thursday, Belgium has a rate of 49.2 new cases per 100,000 people, above the UK’s latest rate of 14.3. For comparison, Spain’s rate was 27.4 around the time it was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list.

The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to the three new destinations on the quarantine list, potentially threatening thousands of holidays if flights are cancelled.

Up to 1.8 million British nationals visit Belgium every year, while 150,000 visit Andorra. In 2018, the Bahamas saw more than 36,000 visits from the UK.

People who do not self-isolate when required can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and those returning to Scotland could be fined £480, with fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.

The government has warned it will react ‘rapidly’ to any spike in cases and it is likely more countries will be taken off the quarantine exemption list in the coming months, while others could be added on.

Following this week’s travel review passengers arriving to England from Brunei and Malaysia won’t have to quarantine so long as they haven’t been in or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the 14 days preceding their arrival.

Earlier it was reported that an air bridge with Portugal could be announced in the coming weeks, though the government is yet to confirm this.

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