Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

11 May 2021

Article: 55/1901

Travel restrictions and self-isolation (quarantine) rules continue to be enforced in order to help reduce the global spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the UK public. Within the UK, coronavirus restrictions are gradually being lifted, with timetables having been published for their easing in 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. Under these restrictions, only UK travellers who have a reasonable excuse to travel abroad can currently do so, and it remains illegal to travel abroad for holidays.

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

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.

Travellers arriving from, or those who have been in a red list (acute risk) country where travel to the UK has been banned in the last ten days, will currently be refused entry to the UK. However, British or Irish nationals, and those who have residence rights in the UK, will be allowed entry, but are subject to the ten-day quarantine period, which must take place in government approved managed hotel accommodation. The list of countries on the red list is continuously being reviewed and updated, and may change at short notice.

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.

Advice for travellers

It is advised that travellers are aware of all travel restrictions, self-isolation rules and precautions they should take, in order to reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) before, during and after travel, as detailed on the fitfortravel website.

Source: TRAVAX, 30 April 2021