Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

20 April 2021

Article: 55/1601

Travel restrictions and self-isolation (quarantine) rules have been implemented across the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the public. The range and type of measures vary across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The current UK travel restrictions are stringent and in place to avoid new variants being imported into the UK, and to avoid UK travellers exporting the UK variant during international travel.

Prior to travelling to the UK, all travellers must: 

All travellers arriving into the UK must: 

  • quarantine for ten days 
  • take coronavirus (COVID-19) tests on days two and eight of quarantine 
  • follow the national lockdown rules for the UK four-nations country they arrive in 
  • For travellers arriving from, or that have been in a red list country where travel to the UK has been banned in the last ten days, quarantine must take place in managed hotel accommodation

Quarantine rules differ for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, therefore prior to travel, travellers must ensure they are able to comply with the rules appropriate to the UK nation they will be arriving in and reside in, if different.

Country specific COVID-19 risk

The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages have been updated to include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, with every country being identified as high, moderate or low risk and each rating accompanied by appropriate travel advice. This information will be listed in the ‘Alerts’ section on each country page of fitfortravel and the 'Emerging Health Risks' section of every TRAVAX country page. This risk-rating is based on a robust public health assessment of the COVID-19 risks for travellers to each country and is regularly reviewed.

Since 15 April 2021, the COVID-19 risk to UK travellers has been increased for the Canary Islands (Spain) and Thailand, while the risk has been decreased for Gibraltar.

Advice for travellers

It is advised that travellers be made aware of precautions they should take to reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) before, during and after travel, as detailed on the fitfortravel website.

Source: TRAVAX, 1 April 2021