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U.K.’s Mandatory Quarantine Doesn’t Apply to Travelers From These Countries

By Michelle Baran

Sep 18, 2020

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Travel to the United Kingdom will require a two-week quarantine—unless you are coming from an exempted country or territory.

Photo by S. Borisov/Shuterstock

Travel to the United Kingdom will require a two-week quarantine—unless you are coming from an exempted country or territory.

International travelers and British nationals returning from countries on an evolving list of exempted nations don’t have to self-isolate—the list is being updated frequently.

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Anyone who arrives in the United Kingdom from one of the countries or territories on a list of exempted nations is not required to self-isolate for 14 days. Those coming from countries that are not on the list will still have to quarantine, including travelers coming from the United States.

“You do not have to self-isolate on arrival in England if these are the only places you have been to or stopped in during the previous 14 days,’’ the U.K. government has said about the exceptions to the 14-day quarantine rule that was put in place on June 8. 

Effective September 19, the list of exempted countries and territories is:

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Azores
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Cayman Islands
  • the Channel Islands
  • Cuba
  • Curaçao
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Estonia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Gibraltar
  • Germany
  • Greece (with the exception of arrivals from the islands of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos and Zakynthos)
  • Greenland
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • the Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Macao
  • Madeira
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • Poland
  • San Marino
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • South Korea
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Barthélemy
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Vatican City State
  • Vietnam

The list is being updated frequently, and the constant changes have created challenges for travelers. For instance, thousands of British tourists cut their vacations short in mid-August and made a hasty retreat from France to avoid a newly enacted mandatory quarantine (France was removed from the list on August 15), the Associated Press reported.

The British government insisted it had to make the decision, which was announced late on August 13, in light of a 66 percent spike in confirmed coronavirus cases in France in the week leading up to the move.

Requirements for those needing to quarantine to enter the U.K.

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For those traveling from countries and territories that are not on the above list, including both international visitors and British nationals returning home from abroad, they will have to provide U.K. border control with their contact details, including their phone number, and the address of their U.K. accommodation where they will self-isolate for two weeks.

If those travelers who are required to self-isolate fail to do so, they can be fined up to £1,000 (or approximately US$1,270), and if they do not provide accurate contact details, they can be fined up to £3,200 (about US$4,070).

“Self-isolating will reduce the chance of a second wave of coronavirus in the U.K.,’’ the government said in its explainer about how travelers should properly self-isolate when they arrive in the U.K.

While self-isolating, you are not allowed to have visitors—you should only have contact with those you traveled with or the people who you are staying with. You cannot leave for work or school or to visit public areas, and you should avoid going grocery shopping if you can. You should exercise within your home. Leaving your quarantine location should be limited to urgent medical needs, obtaining basic necessities such as food and medication, to attend a funeral of a close relative, or for an emergency.

Nonessential travel to and from the United Kingdom is not currently recommended but it is not forbidden either.

What is and isnt open in the U.K.

As of July 4, the majority of U.K. businesses were allowed to reopen as long as they follow COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, according to a coronavirus fact sheet provided by the government. That includes hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, and pubs (with outdoor seating), museums, galleries, cinemas, theaters, and concert halls.

Opening of nonessential retail started on June 15.

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This story originally appeared on March 11, 2020, and has been updated to include current information. The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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