Latest information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risks
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COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel

Introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has severely disrupted international travel.

Currently, each of the 4 UK nations have implemented localised restrictions and guidance on travel, including self isolation (quarantine) requirements.  You should follow the rules that apply to your location. The latest guidance for each of the UK 4 nations can be found below:

As the pandemic evolves, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) continuously review and update travel advice. The current FCDO guidance is:

"It is illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays. Follow current COVID-19 rules where you live."

Please see following link for further information:

Official guidelines are subject to change at short notice as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

This page aims to provide you with advice on protecting yourself against COVID-19 when travelling and ahead of planning any future travel.

Risk for Travellers

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection which is spread by droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Your risk of being exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) during travel relates to the number of COVID-19 cases in the destination country, your means of travel (car, boat, aircraft etc) and your activities at your destination.

  • The number of cases in different countries will vary over time, as will the measures countries put in place to control coronavirus (COVID-19), including physical distancing and hygiene measures.
  • There is an increased risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) when you travel in enclosed shared spaces, such as trains, buses and aircraft, due to the close proximity of people.
  • Maintaining physical distancing and hygiene measures will reduce your risk of being exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) during travel.

Countries may lift or implement travel bans or quarantine measures at any time to curtail the spread of COVID-19.  These may impact your trip.

  • You must comply with local public health authority guidelines in the country that you are visiting.
  • You can find information on the latest requirements for each country on the FCDO website. 

Before Travel

You should not proceed with travel if you are already feeling unwell. Even if your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, you will increase your risk of being denied boarding or being quarantined if your illness is detected during your flight, at entry or exit screening at airports, or when crossing borders.

Before making travel plans you should check all of the following:

See frequently asked questions (FAQs) for information about pre-travel COVID-19 testing.

FCDO Travel Advisory Notices 

The FCDO issue Travel Advisory Notices (details of travel restrictions), including if you are advised to avoid all travel to a country. This information is updated regularly and can change between booking/planning a trip and your departure.

You must regularly check the FCDO website for the latest country specific advice including: 

  • Entry requirements (including pre-travel COVID-19 testing requirements) set by your destination country in response to COVID-19
  • Reports of COVID-19 at your destination and measures the country is taking in response to the outbreak

Your Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in every country worldwide is listed on the individual country pages of fitfortravel.

Your risk is also influenced by your age, general health and planned activities.

To find out if you are at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, or for information on how the risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) is determined, see the FAQs.

COVID-19 testing at your destination prior to return to the UK

Travellers arriving into the UK (including UK nationals) are now required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. These measures have been introduced to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

You must take the COVID-19 test in the three days before you start your journey to the UK. You will need to find a test provider that meets the required pre-departure test standards in the country you are departing.

  • Failure to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test may result in denial of boarding and you could be fined on arrival. 

This measure is in addition to the need to self isolate on return to the UK (see here).

Please see the links below for further details:

UK Nations self-isolation (quarantine) border control rules

The 4 UK national governments issue official advice on self-isolation (quarantine) rules for individuals who are returning to the UK from overseas. These can change at short notice.  Before both your outbound and inbound journeys, you should check for any quarantine rules that you must follow on your return to the UK.

All travellers arriving into the UK must:

  • quarantine for 10 days
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining
  • follow the national lockdown rules for the UK 4 nations country they arrive in.

In addition, if you have visited or transited through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, you must also quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel.

Before arriving in the UK, you will need to:

Follow the links to each of the 4 nations below for further information:

In England only: You may be able to pay for a private COVID-19 test to reduce your self-isolation (quarantine) period under the 'Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test to Release for International Travel' scheme. See the FCDO website for further information.

Also see the UK Border control guidance on '​Quarantining when you arrive in the UK' here.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential and must cover medical evacuation and repatriation in the event that you become unwell and need to be transported home.
  • If the FCDO advise against travel to a country and you continue with your trip, your travel insurance may become invalid.
  • If you already have travel insurance and the FCDO advise against travel after you have booked, you may be entitled to a full refund.
  • Even with good travel insurance, you will need to follow the guidance of local public health authorities at all time, including self-isolating if you develop symptoms. This may mean your return home could be delayed.
  • Be aware that some travel insurance policies may not cover any claims related to COVID-19.
  • Contact your travel insurance provider if you have specific questions around what your policy covers.

Medical Facilities at your destination

Local healthcare at your destination may be impacted by COVID-19, which can mean that accessing medical care for any reason may be challenging. Before you travel, make sure that you know how to access health care at your destination:

  • A list of doctors and medical facilities worldwide can be accessed on the FCDO website.

To reduce your risk of requiring medical care abroad, ensure that you are up to date with any recommended travel vaccinations, have antimalarial tablets if required, and that your health is in good condition before you travel. 

  • See the fitfortravel country page for your destination to determine if you need vaccinations or antimalarial tablets before you travel.

During Travel

It is important to check with your travel agent or travel company ahead of planned travel if physical distancing, face coverings and additional hygiene precautionary measures have been implemented, and consider how these will affect you. Measures may include less people being able to travel on aircraft, buses or trains at any one time, and crowd control in transport hubs and airports.

  • Expect delays and allow extra time for travel.
  • Be prepared to queue or take different routes in and around stations and airports to comply with physical distancing measures.
  • See the GOV.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19):safer air travel guidance on sensible precautions and steps to take if you’re flying.

Make sure you plan ahead for your trip and consider packing plenty of snacks, particularly if you are travelling with children, or have any medical conditions such as diabetes.

  • Shops and restaurants in airports and transport hubs may not be operating as normal, or may have restrictions in place.
  • Food and drinks may not be available to purchase on board aircraft or other public transport during your trip. 

You will need to comply with local public health authority guidelines at all times, in the UK and at your destination including with measures such as entry requirements, quarantine measures and possible testing for COVID-19. Consider how these may impact your trip. 

Reducing your risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Simple measures will help reduce your risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) during your trip.

Physical distancing

Try to maintain physical distancing (1-2 meters) from others as much as possible

  • Avoid time in crowded public areas and enclosed spaces, including elevators, cafes, bars, night clubs etc, as much as practically possible. You should comply with local guidance on physical distancing.
  • Avoid the use of indoor gyms, swimming pools or exercise areas if physical distancing and hygiene measures are not in place.
  • Only visit cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars if physical distancing is maintained. Consider using room service, or purchase take-away meals to eat in your room or other non-crowded areas. 
  • Walk or cycle where possible, and try to limit your use of shared transport.

Hygiene Measures

You should pay strict attention to personal hygiene:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, particularly before eating and drinking, after being in public areas, using public transport and using the toilet.
  • Carry an alcohol based hand sanitiser, containing at least 60% alcohol, for use when soap and water is not immediately available. Remember this should be 100mls or less to comply with airport liquid/gel restrictions.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue and dispose of used tissues immediately in a waste bin.
  • Wearing a face covering may be mandatory in some countries when in public. If it is not, consider wearing a face covering when physical distancing isn't possible in public areas or enclosed spaces. 
  • Purchase travel tickets online and use e-tickets and contactless payment where possible.
  • Sanitise your tray table and arm rests on public transport with disinfectant wipes, remember to sanitise your hands afterwards.

Try to avoid:

  • touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • sharing food, drinks and personal items such as mobile phones
  • touching common surfaces such as handrails and doorknobs as much as possible

You must isolate yourself immediately if you become unwell during your trip with symptoms such as:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change in taste or smell

If your symptoms become severe, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.  Follow the guidance of local public health authorities at all times to avoid spreading the virus.

For further information see respiratory hygiene and COVID-19 pages.

After Travel

You should follow the latest UK guidance on measures you need to take upon your return to the UK including instructions regarding self-isolation (quarantine)

  • UK guidance, including links specific to each of the 4 UK nations, is available on GOV.UK website.
  • Please note that the Test to Release for International Travel scheme to reduce your self-isolation period on return to the UK is only available for travellers returning to England.

You should proceed straight to your home or accommodation after you arrive back in the UK for your self-isolation:

  • Only use public transport if you have no other option; and wear a face covering if you do so.
  • If you are unwell you should avoid public transport whenever possible.

You should follow the latest local coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the UK; further details can be found here:

If you develop any symptoms compatible with COVID-19 you should self-isolate immediately and follow the latest guidance, available on:

You may need to discuss with your employer before you return to work after travelling abroad.

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