Travellers returning from Croatia and Austria will have to self-isolate in the UK from this weekend, but Portugal is now on the list of countries exempt from quarantine.
Here are some readers questions about the latest travel rules.
Do I need to quarantine if I take a four-day trip between Dublin and Manchester? Dawn, Manchester
You will not need to quarantine when returning from Dublin.
However, the UK is currently on Ireland’s “orange” list.
This means that once you get to Dublin, you will need to restrict your movement as much as possible.
This includes only going to shops and the pharmacy in exceptional circumstances, and you are not advised to see others.
If I travel to France do I have to self-isolate when I get there? Patrick, Wales
No, you don’t need to quarantine when you get into France.
However, you will have to when you come back to the UK for 14 days.
Additionally, it is worth checking whether there are still any local lockdown rules in the region where you’re going.
Do I need to print off my QR code before going to Greece? Peter, Nottinghamshire
a valid passenger landing form, which includes a QR code.
This can be either printed or on your phone, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Why does the quarantine need to last 14 days? Why can’t we be tested after a week? Pam, Nottingham.
It can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The period between catching the virus and showing symptoms is known as the incubation period.
During incubation a test might not be effective at picking up symptoms.
I’m from Spain and my mother has died in the UK. I am an only child, so can I come back and make arrangements/plan a funeral? Mike, Spain
You should try and organise the funeral remotely as much as possible and ask friends or family to help wherever possible.
However, the government guidelines do allow for you to leave the house to attend a funeral during quarantine.
Remember, funerals are currently subject to their own strict rules, including a maximum 30-person limit.
What does a country like Croatia have to do/show to be put back on the UK list of countries where two weeks’ isolation on return is unnecessary? Steve, Fareham
At the moment, the government does not publish the criteria for its decisions regarding quarantine, although it is thought to take into account a number of factors, such as the number of people affected, the number of deaths and the country’s testing capacity. Croatia was put on the list because it has recently seen a spike in infections.
There have been calls for more transparency about the process. Earlier this month, MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee urged the government to publish the analysis behind its decisions, saying: “It will build more support for the difficult balancing judgements it has to take if it is open about the evidence behind them.”
I’m returning from holiday in Germany and driving through the Netherlands without stopping to reach my ferry port. Must I still quarantine for 14 days? David Gilmour, Lincolnshire
Not necessarily. If you travel through the Netherlands and you don’t stop in the country, you will not need to self-isolate when you return to the UK.
If you do make a stop in the Netherlands, you can still avoid quarantine if:
- no new people get into the vehicle
- nobody gets out of the car, mixes with people and then gets back into the car
Is the 14 day self-isolation actually being enforced? There are many who don’t even wear masks so why would they self-isolate? Trevor
Travellers from affected countries – including UK nationals – are asked to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. They can be fined £100 for failing to provide these details.
One in five eligible passengers will be called or texted to check they are following the rules.
People who do not self-isolate can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and £480 in Scotland. There are fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.
My parents are set to holiday in one of the quarantine countries but I’m not. (I’m 21). Do I have to move out for two weeks to isolate from them when they get back? Josh, Staffordshire
You do not need to isolate but your parents do, if they are returning from a country on the quarantine list. Moving out would be one solution to this, but you could stay at home as long as you are able to avoid contact with each other as much as possible.
As your parents will not be able to leave home (except for emergencies) during the self-isolation period, they may be glad of your assistance bringing food shopping to the house, for instance.
My wife has just come back from Portugal. She has to self-isolate for two weeks, but now that Portugal is on the exempt list does she still have to self isolate? James, Edinburgh
Yes she does. Anyone who arrives in the UK from Portugal before 0400 BST on 22 August still has to self-isolate for two weeks. If you are already self-isolating, you need to continue doing so for 14 days after you arrived in the UK.
Why do changes in quarantine arrangements take effect at 04:00 BST? Would the country be dramatically less safe if the changes were delayed till 10:00 or even 12:00? John, Surrey
The Department for Transport (DfT) says that 04:00 BST is a quiet time for flights, so there’s less chance of travel disruption.
With countries such as Croatia, Austria or – to take those added to the quarantine list last week – France and the Netherlands, the public health risks were not considered so high that quarantine needed to be introduced immediately.
By allowing 36 hours’ notice, the DfT said it could give travellers as much notice as possible and allow quarantine to be implemented successfully.
It would be really useful if you could publish a list of countries you can and cannot visit. Does one exist that gets updated? Sim Warren
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