Self-isolation lifted for lower risk countries in time for holidays this summer

posted on 3rd July 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Self-isolation lifted for lower risk countries in time for holidays this summer

Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will set out today (Friday 3 July).

The new measures will come into force from 10 July, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.

The list of countries will be published later today. A number of countries will be exempted from the requirement for passengers arriving into England to self-isolate for 14 days. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.

The Government’s expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the UK to self-isolate. This will mean that holidaymakers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey.

The exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel to exempt certain destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk of COVID-19.

When planning holidays or overseas travel, people should therefore check the latest FCO travel advice on gov.uk, including whether there are any self-isolation measures in place for their outbound or return journey.

If the country or territory they are visiting is exempt, they will not have to self-isolate on their return to England. Passengers should also stay alert to any changes to local public health measures while they are travelling, including by subscribing to FCO Travel Advice updates. 

The Government continues to work closely with international partners around the world to discuss arrangements for travellers arriving from the UK and will continue this engagement ahead of the changes coming into force.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.

“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”

The FCO’s Travel Advice is based on an assessment of a range of factors that could present risks to British nationals when abroad, using different criteria to the list of countries exempted from self-isolation measures. It is based on a range of factors including epidemiological risks, capacity of local healthcare systems, transport options and law and order. These Travel Advice exemptions will come into effect on 4 July and will be kept under review.

All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK, including details of countries or territories they have been in or through during the previous 14 days. Existing public health advice on hand hygiene, face coverings, and social distancing must also be followed.