Latest information about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risks
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions

 Am I at increased risk of severe COVID-19?

COVID-19 can make anyone seriously unwell, but for some people the risk of serious illness is higher. This may be due to:

  • your age
  • pregnancy
  • having an underlying health condition
  • taking specific regular medications

To find out if you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and additional precautions you may need to take, review the relevant information for Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

How do I know if I need a negative COVID-19 test to travel abroad?

The FCDO foreign travel advice provides information on entry requirements, including if the country you are travelling to requires you to have a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter their country.  There are different types of COVID-19 tests available and the reliability of results can vary depending on the type of test you take.  Before travelling, you should check:

  • if you need a negative COVID-19 test result to be able to enter the country you are travelling to
  • what kind of test will be accepted by the country you are travelling to
  • how soon before travel the test should be taken

COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS. Testing for this reason is only currently available through private providers who must have self-declared that they meet the UK government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer. 

If you need to travel internationally for work and require evidence of a test, you should speak to your employer or occupational health adviser.

Further information on available COVID-19 testing kits and their limitations, can be found in the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance for patients, the public and professional users: a guide to COVID-19 tests and testing kits.

How is the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in my destination country determined?

The risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in each country is determined by a comprehensive risk assessment process led by Public Health England who work in conjunction with the public health bodies of the UK devolved nations. Changes to the COVID-19 risk for UK travellers are continually updated and details can be found in the 'Alerts' section on each fitfortravel country page

The country specific COVID-19 risk rating is a guide to the risk of exposure for UK travellers and should always be considered alongside the latest FCDO foreign travel advice.

Does wearing a face covering stop me catching coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The most important way to protect yourself is by:

  • maintaining physical distancing (so coughs and sneezes can't reach your face)
  • keeping your hands clean
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with hands that are not clean

Face coverings mainly reduce the risk of you passing coronavirus (COVID-19) to other people, especially when it isn't possible to keep physically distanced. This is because you may shed the virus in coughs and sneezes before you start to feel ill.  Remember that some people can have COVID-19 and never feel ill. The face covering catches the coughs and sneezes and so stops the virus landing directly on other people's faces or on surfaces that other people might touch. The face covering may stop other peoples' coughs and sneezes landing directly in your nose or mouth, but would not stop it landing in your eyes.

A face covering should:

  • safely cover your nose and mouth
  • fit securely around the side of your face
  • be made from cloth or other textiles, 2 to 3 layers thick that you can breathe easily through

You should:

  • clean your hands, before and after putting on your face covering or if you have to adjust it
  • avoid touching your face and face covering and clean your hands if you do
  • if you can, use cloth face coverings that can be re-used rather than single use, disposable face coverings
  • replace your face covering if it becomes wet or dirty

Throughout the UK face coverings are now recommended (and are still required in required in law in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be worn in enclosed spaces, such as on public transport, in shops, schools and other public areas. Similar rules may apply in other countries and you should comply with the local public health authority guidelines in the country that you are visiting.

See the links below for the UK 4 nations guidance on face coverings:

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