United Kingdom Reduces Self-Quarantine To 10 Days

Filed Under: Travel

Those in the UK (and in particular England) will have a much easier time traveling to “high-risk” destinations as of next week.

UK reducing quarantine to 10 days

Back in May, the UK introduced a mandatory 14 day quarantine for all travelers arriving from “high-risk” areas (last week an exception was added for “high-value business travelers”).

As of Monday, December 14, 2020, the UK will be reducing the quarantine requirement from 14 days to 10 days. Again, this applies to people arriving from areas outside of the UK’s travel corridors, while there’s no quarantine requirement for traveling within the corridors.

This policy change is intended to increase compliance with the 14 day quarantine, which I’d say is a move in the right direction. Yes, people would be (marginally) safer if everyone quarantined for 14 days, but the problem has been the lack of compliance with this policy. The CDC in the US has even recently recommended a reduction of quarantine length from 14 days to 10 days.

While the self-quarantine requirement exists on paper, in reality many people have skipped it without repercussions, since it wasn’t closely enforced.

Presumably the hope is that a 10 day quarantine sounds more manageable, and will encourage people to comply. Chances are that most (though not all) cases would be caught within 10 days rather than 14 days.

At the same time, I feel like if someone wasn’t going to observe a 14 day self-quarantine, they’re also unlikely to observe a 10 day quarantine.

The UK’s self-quarantine has been reduced to 10 days

England also getting “test and release” scheme

As was first announced a few weeks ago, as of November 15, 2020, England will be introducing a “test and release” scheme (yes, this is specific to England, while the reduction of the quarantine from 14 to 10 days is in all of the UK).

With this new policy:

  • Travelers will instead be able to self-quarantine for five days
  • At that point they can get a coronavirus test from a private provider, and if they test negative they can be released from their self-quarantine
  • Since it usually takes 24-48 hours to get test results, at a minimum people are still looking at self-quarantining for six to seven days

That’s not exactly a huge reduction over the 10 day quarantine that otherwise exists, but…

In England you can get tested to shorten your quarantine

Bottom line

The UK is constantly changing quarantine and travel requirements, though everything Is leading in the way of restrictions being eased. This coming week we’ll see the 14 day quarantine reduced to 10 days in the UK, and we’ll see a five day quarantine and testing option in England. Then on top of that the UK has started exempting “high-value business travelers” from quarantines.

What do you make of these UK travel changes?

  1. I don’t really know but are quarantines in the UK enforced or is it an honor system like much of the US? 14 days to 10 days not really anything of a game changer. Either way you’re cooped up for more than a week. Not to mention you can’t get outside for Vitamin D.

  2. George N Romey, I am currently in quarantine in the U.K. again. It is a mix of honour system and enforcement. I personally have seen no evidence of enforcement yet but I understand that some people are called or checked upon. I find the enforcement angle rather fascistic and not consistent with British values.

  3. George,

    It’s indeed the honour system. Haven’t experienced it personally but by all accounts there’s no follow up. But it’s similar to the outside world in the UK. Lockdown last month and there was still many folks out and about, who presumably can’t all be making essential journeys.
    Let the people town free and watch the rates rise.

    The more frustrating this is going to a “safe” place, low case numbers, covid tests, no quarantine upon return requiredz and then upon arrival back into Heathrow lining up for half an hour with plane loads of those who’ve come back from high infection destinations who are bound for quarantine.

    Not a lot of Vitamin D here in winter, so quarantine isn’t the most unappealing thing. Bring on summer

  4. Let’s be honest: most blog readers just go and ignore all self-quarantine requirements. They don’t care. Know your readers

  5. I returned from the States to England several weeks ago. Did my bit my staying inside for 14 days. I did not receive a call or text asking for my current location nor did anyone appear at my house. Purely an honour system.

  6. I’m down to fly some first class to London . I’ve been flying first class around the country all week long and the flights are empty. There’s 777s and 787s as far as the eye can see.
    I feel safe and everything is sanitized. LAX is the best.

    I just get a bit uncomfortable in DFW terminal E were all the American eagle and regional jets fly to rural places. It gets way to packed over there in the afternoons and people don’t socially distance or know how to wear masks. And those little planes do get full. I’d rather take a hotel overnight and come back in the morning when it’s not crowded at all. What’s the rush ?

  7. There are many instances of people being fined for not following the quarantine requirements on their return to the UK after overseas travel. They just have not announced it widely. But receiving a call from the company that is responsible for monitoring the quarantine by travellers is like winning the lottery, except for the reverse situation.

  8. I have not visited the UK when I would have been ordered to quarantine, but a few work colleagues did. All but one have not experienced a follow up, but actually one got a visit of the local police at the hotel. She was in her room at the time of the visit, in full compliance with the restrictions imposed, so no consequences, but probably she would have been fined if they didn’t find her in her room.

  9. the UK is enforcing the self isolation requirements up to 20% of arrivals will be monitored through phone calls and text messaging, i speak from experience having returned to London 10 days ago and having been called or texted several times by the enforcement team

  10. It’s a joke and will not change anything. They should work on new system based on vaccine plus ( or not ) test.

  11. If I fly from US to London and stay less than 10 days is that allowed ? Would I get caught when exiting UK ?

    Also does anyone recommend another city in the UK to visit that I can take a train to from London ?

  12. @D3kingg That’s fine. The quarantine rules only apply when you’re in the UK. Leaving the country is allowed!

    But you wouldn’t be able to leave your residence for those 10 days (or 5 days if you want to pay for the test and release).

  13. The high cost of covid put on national health system not to mention economy, wouldn’t it be cheaper to quarantine visitors/ return citizens in monitored airport hotels to make sure everyone entering uk is indeed quarantine 10/14 days? See example: New Zealand, Taiwan. Although I suppose that boat has sailed long ago.

  14. My wife went through 14 days of quarantine in Canada this summer and 7 day on her return to Qatar. Both countries will throw the book at you if they catch you outside during your quarantine. Good! If a country is perceived as lax on enforcement, it will continue to allow fools to roam.

  15. Meanwhile in the People’s Democratic Republic of Australia, all returning citizens (if they can get in) are imprisoned for 14 days with no access to any fresh air or exercise.

  16. @Rich

    Thanks for the info. I’ve secured a first class ticket roundtrip Houston to London so If I quarantine in my hotel for 5 days the entire time they will be ok with that upon arrival at the customs immigration ?

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