Travellers returning from Spain now face having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the UK, following a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
The UK Government removed Spain from the list of countries exempt from quarantine restrictions on Sunday (26 July), after more than 900 new daily infections were confirmed over a period of two days.
But are any travellers exempt from quarantine rules? Here’s what you need to know.
What are the quarantine rules?
UK travellers face quarantine restrictions if they return to the UK from a country that is not listed on the government approved list.
More than 70 countries and territories are currently considered low-risk, meaning travellers who have visited one of any of these places are not required to self-isolate on their return.
Spain was previously among the countries included, but has since been removed in response to a recent surge in cases.
As such, any travellers returning from Spain to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to self-isolate for 14 days as of 26 July.
You will also need to self-isolate if you visited, or made a transit stop, to a country that is not included on the list in the 14 days before arriving back in the UK. This applies to all travel by train, ferry, coach, air, or any other route.
Who is exempt from quarantine?
A number of travellers are exempt from quarantine restrictions on returning to the UK, according to government guidance.
Here is the full list of exemptions:
- Travellers from within the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
- Members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the UK, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations, representatives at an international or UK conference granted privileges and immunities, and their families or dependents
- Representatives of a foreign country or territory and representatives of the British overseas territories, along with their families or dependents travelling to the UK to undertake official business with the UK
- Defence personnel, visiting forces and government contractors who the Ministry of Defence has confirmed are required to deliver essential defence activities
- UK officials and contractors required to work on essential border security duties
- Non-UK officials and contractors required to work on essential border security duties
- Crown servants or government contractors travelling to the UK for essential government work
- People who live in the UK but work in another country and travel between the UK and country of work at least once a week
- People who live outside the UK but work in the UK and travel between their country of residence and the UK at least once a week
- Drivers of public service vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus
- Drivers of goods vehicles and other employees of community licence holders for the international carriage of goods
- People transiting airside (individuals who arrive in the UK but do not pass border control)
- Civil aviation inspectors engaged on inspection duties
- Eurotunnel train drivers and crew, Eurotunnel Shuttle drivers, freight train drivers, crew and essential cross-border rail freight workers operating through the Channel Tunnel
- Drivers and crew of trains operated by Eurostar International Limited, essential cross-border workers working for Eurostar International Limited
- Operational, rail maintenance, security and safety workers working on the Channel Tunnel system
- Workers engaged in essential or emergency works to the rail network as part of a specialist team with or for Network Rail
- Seamen and masters as defined in section 313(1) Merchant Shipping Act 1995, maritime pilots as defined in para 22(1) of schedule 3A of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, and inspectors and surveyors of ships appointed under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995
- Pilots and crew, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their workSeasonal agricultural workers who have an offer of employment for seasonal work to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture on a named farm
- Workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services
- Workers with specialist technical skills for essential or emergency works or services (including construction, commissioning, installation, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods
- Workers with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works (including construction, commissioning, installation, maintenance, repairs and safety checks) or to fulfil contractual obligations or warranty specifications in, or in connection with, waste management facilities used for the management, sorting, treatment, recovery, or disposal of waste
- Workers with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works to ensure the continued safe and secure operations of generating stations, gas or electricity transmission or distribution networks, electricity interconnectors, gas terminals or district or communal heat networks
- Workers required for the continued safe and secure operation, maintenance and essential support services for offshore oil and gas infrastructure in the UK
- Workers with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works to ensure the continued safe and secure operations of space infrastructure
- Nuclear personnel who are essential to the safe and secure operations of a licensed nuclear site
- Nuclear emergency responder
- International nuclear safeguards and chemical industry inspectors, representing the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Euratom
- Specialist aerospace engineers, or specialist workers responsible for ensuring the safe operation of aircraft.
- Workers with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works to ensure the continued safe and secure operations of a downstream oil facility that has a capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes
- Postal workers involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK
- Individuals arriving to attend pre-arranged treatment, when receiving that treatment in the UK
- Registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus
- If you’ve travelled to the UK for the purpose of transporting, to a healthcare provider in the UK, material which consists of, or includes, human cells or blood which are to be used for the purpose of providing healthcare
- Qualified persons and responsible persons for human and veterinary medicines, clinical trials, clinical investigations and pharmacovigilance
- Quality assurance inspectors for human and veterinary medicines
- Sponsors and essential persons needed for clinical trials or studies
- People involved in essential maintenance and repair of data infrastructure required to reduce and resolve outages, or in the provision of goods and services to support these activities
- Information technology or telecommunications professionals whose expertise is required to provide an essential or emergency response to threats and incidents relating to the security of any network and information system and ensure the continued operation of any network and information system
- People engaged in urgent or essential work on electronic communications networks
- People engaged in urgent or essential work for the BBC’s broadcasting transmission network and services
- International prison escorts, designated by the relevant Minister under section 5(3) of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984(a)