Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: England and Northern Ireland, UK, to reimpose self-isolation requirement for travelers from Spain due to coronavirus activity as of July 26.

  • Alert Begins: 25 Jul 2020 08:53 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 01 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Ongoing business and travel disruptions

Effective 0001 July 26, authorities in England and Northern Ireland will reimpose a directive requiring all travelers arriving from Spain to self-quarantine for 14 days due to a recent spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in that country. While the governments of Wales and Scotland have as yet made no official announcements on the matter, it is likely that they will implement similar measures over the coming days. Scotland had only placed Spain on its list of "exempted countries," thereby lifting its earlier requirement that travelers arriving from there self-isolate, as of July 23.

Authorities had earlier exempted travelers arriving from 75 countries and overseas territories, including Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand - and, initially, Spain - from a requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon entering the UK. The exempted countries had been assessed to pose a reduced threat from COVID-19. All international travelers entering the UK must provide contact details, as well as their travel history over the previous 14 days. International passengers of any nationality arriving by air, rail, or ferry from a nonexempt location are required to self-isolate for 14 days; health officials may perform spot checks to ensure compliance. Persons without suitable accommodations will be required to stay in facilities arranged by the government at their own expense. Freight drivers and healthcare workers are exempt from the requirement. The measures are reviewed every three weeks. Authorities in Scotland plan to lift quarantine requirements for travelers from Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as of July 28 following a decrease in COVID-19 activity in those countries.

Nationwide, the UK continues gradually easing restrictions it had implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19, although tighter measures remain in force in some locations. Most nonessential businesses around the UK have reopened; however, they must adhere to strict hygiene practices, including limits on the number of customers in stores in order to maintain social distancing, as well as encouraging customers to use hand sanitizer when entering the premises, among other things. International flights remain limited, but cargo and repatriation services have continued. Public transport services are operating across the country. Precise COVID-19 restrictions, such as social distancing guidelines, vary among England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Protective face coverings remain mandatory on public transport nationwide and inside shops in Scotland. Authorities continue to recommend residents work from home where possible.

Authorities began easing an ongoing lockdown in the city of Leicester July 24 after a reported drop in COVID-19 infections. Schools and nurseries have reopened. Moreover, the local council have been granted authority to determine what types of non-essential businesses may reopen and in which parts of the city. Some specific parts of the city will likely remain under tighter restrictions, depending on local disease activity levels. Authorities relaxed measures in areas outside of Leicester City and the boroughs of Oadby and Wigston July 18. Still, only essential travel to and from affected areas is permitted. Authorities plan to reassess the situation in the city on July 30.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Arrive at the airport early to prevent your seat from being reallocated to a standby passenger. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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