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After being locked down since March, many Britons are itching to travel again. Rules regarding UK Travel Restrictions have eased over recent weeks . – just in time for summer holidays.
Although official advice from the Foreign Office remains to avoid all but essential international travel, a list of exempted countries is updated by the government. Restrictions are subject to change at any time, depending on fluctuations in infection rates at home and abroad.
England published a list of countries which will be exempted from quarantine upon arrival without input from other nations in the UK. All nations have not adopted the same exemptions as England, however. The most notable exception is Scotland’s enforcement of a 14-day self-isolation period for people arriving from Spain. All travellers arriving in the UK, even UK nationals, must provide an address and contact information upon arrival and will be fined if found in violation of regulations.
Ministers had discussed reciprocal quarantine-free travel agreements between countries, termed ‘air bridges’ for flights and ‘travel corridors’ for travel via land and ferry, but these agreements did not come to fruition. Hence, even though a foreign country’s nationals are exempt from quarantine upon arrival in Great Britain, this does not mean British travellers will be exempt from quarantine upon arrival in their country. Some current exceptions are as follows:
Northern Ireland is not accepting visitors from England, Scotland or Wales.
Austria orders arrivals from UK to self-isolate unless a medical certificate is presented or test is taken upon arrival.
New Zealand bans almost all foreigners.
Australia requires an exemption visa for non-residents.
South Korea mandates an isolation period.
Iceland offers the option to take a test or go into quarantine.
Cyprus currently does not allow entrance to non-residents who have visited the UK within the past 14 days.
Before booking travel, make sure you understand cancellation policies. It is also a good idea to thoroughly read through travel insurance policies to ensure coverage due to last minute regulation changes. Headaches can be be minimized by signing up for travel alerts from airlines at the time of booking. It is important to keep on top of updates as travel guidance may change before you arrive at your destination or during your stay.
It is also wise to consider that the virus may be contracted while abroad and prepare to stay away during the recovery period. The financial implications of staying away longer than expected can be a burden, but you may not be able to travel until you are virus free. If you are required to quarantine abroad, make sure to look after your mental health by keeping in contact with friends and family at home.
This pandemic has been a long road, but we must all stay the course, following safety precautions such as frequent hand washing, wearing masks and social distancing. Lest we face restrictions like our American brothers and sisters, who are told “Yanks No Thanks”.