Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Travelers to the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8 in order to prevent spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This alert affects United Kingdom

This alert began 24 May 2020 15:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions

Authorities in the UK will require persons arriving in the country from June 8 to self-isolate for 14 days in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Travelers will be required to provide accommodation information to border officials; health officials may perform spot checks to ensure compliance with the regulations. Persons without suitable accommodation will be required to stay in facilities arranged by the government at their own expense. The measures apply to arrival by air, rail, and ferry. The quarantine period will apply to British citizens and foreign nationals. Persons arriving from Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man will be exempt from the restrictions. Freight drivers and healthcare workers will also be exempt from these requirements. The measures will be reviewed every three weeks.

Authorities previously eased several measures imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19. The Northern Ireland Executive began the first stage of its five-stage COVID-19 recovery plan May 18. As of this date, individuals in Northern Ireland who cannot work from home have been encouraged to return to work, gatherings of up to six people are permitted, some outdoor sports are allowed, and garden centers may reopen. In all cases, social distancing of two meters (6.5 feet) must be observed, and all businesses must adhere to strict hygiene practices. The Executive has not provided a schedule for the remaining stages of the coronavirus recovery plan; restrictions will be eased as authorities assess it is safe to do so.

In England, as of May 13, unlimited outdoor exercise is allowed, two individuals from different houses may meet outdoors, and those who cannot work from home have been encouraged to return to work. Transport for London (TfL) is currently operating a reduced bus, train, and London Underground (Tube) service. Many bus routes have been amended and numerous Tube stations have been temporarily closed. Additional movement and business restrictions in England are currently slated to be lifted June 1 and July 4, contingent upon the Joint Biosecurity Centre's (JBC) disease activity assessment. The JBC could also advise that restrictions be lifted or reintroduced in particular local jurisdictions within England throughout the recovery effort. Authorities in Scotland and Wales are not currently encouraging nonessential workers to return to work, though they have lifted limits on outdoor exercise. Scotland and Northern Ireland will review and ease further restrictions by May 28, dependant upon the evolution of disease activity.

Authorities throughout the UK continue to recommend citizens remain home except to perform essential tasks. Most educational facilities and nonessential businesses remain closed, including cafes and restaurants. Flights remain heavily restricted. Cargo and repatriation flights have continued. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures implemented by the UK are similar to actions taken by other European governments in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

The UK's JBC is a newly formed agency tasked with analyzing disease activity in England and setting the "COVID-19 Alert Level," a five-tier system that will inform the government's decisions on easing and reintroducing restrictions. The JBC can set different alert levels for different parts of the country, creating the possibility for varying restrictions based on locality in the future.

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 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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