Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

05 October 2021

Article: 55/4002

International travel continues to be significantly impacted due to COVID-19, and a number of variant strains have emerged globally, with information on such travel available for people living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. To prevent new COVID-19 variants being exported and imported, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) currently advise against travelling to red list countries.

On 4 October 2021, the traffic light system for travel to the UK was simplified, with the green and amber lists merging, and a red list remaining for countries with high case numbers and variants of concern. It should be noted that the lists do not indicate which destinations allow UK travellers to enter their country.

Currently, anyone entering Scotland from countries on the international travel green list will not be required to self-isolate on arrival, but will have to complete a passenger locator form, take a COVID-19 test before travelling to Scotland, then another within two days of arriving in Scotland. Isolation is only required if the COVID-19 test taken on day two after arriving back in Scotland is positive or NHS Scotland Test and Protect makes contact to inform of the need to isolate due to travel with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

On 22 September 2021, Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland updated their rules regarding return travel to the UK from eight current red list countries. 

On return to the UK, travellers should be aware that testing and quarantine rules differ for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prior to their journey, 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.

Advice for travellers

Prior to booking any international travel, travellers must first check if the country they are travelling to is currently accepting UK travellers. 

  • Each country or territory on the FCDO foreign travel advice page provides up-to-date information on their entry rules, in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), under the ‘Entry Requirements’ section. 
  • Travellers should be aware that some countries or territories may require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for entry. Guidance for demonstrating COVID-19 vaccination status is available for those living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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, 10 September 2021