Coronavirus quarantine: Who needs to do it and for how long?

Olivia Petter, Chelsea Ritschel
·3-min read

It has been reported that Portugal may be put back on the UK's quarantine list due to a rise in coronavirus cases, a move that the boss of British Airways' parent company has said would cause further "chaos and hardship" for travellers.

In mid-August, France was added to the list of countries with quarantine measures.

When travellers return to England from the locations included on the list, they are required to spend 14 days in self-isolation in order to reduce risk of Covid-19 transmission.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that in July, a "small increase" in positive cases for Covid-19 was noted, adding that this "continues to level off"

From 4am on Saturday 15 August, it became compulsory for the hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers returning from France to self-isolate. Other impacted countries include Malta and the Netherlands.

Monaco, Aruba and the Turks & Caicos Islands are also off the “safe” list – a list of countries the government deemed safe enough for Britons to visit without having to quarantine.

Those countries join Spain, Belgium and many other countries that are now effectively off-limits to many UK travellers.

Here’s everything you need to know about what you can and cannot do in quarantine.

What can you do and not do while self-quarantining?

If you are in quarantine, you must stay away from others and stay at the address provided on the public health passenger locator form you used when you travelled.

You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should also not go shopping for food or anything else.

If you require help buying groceries, or other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery for you.

In England, you may exercise but only within your home or garden. You cannot leave your home to walk your dog and will need to ask friends or relatives to help you with this.

Can you have visitors?

You cannot have visitors if you are in quarantine unless they are providing emergency assistance, medical assistance, or veterinary services.

Can you leave the house?

In England, you can only leave your accommodation in limited circumstances, including needing urgent medical assistance, needing access to basic necessities like food and medicines (but only in circumstances where you cannot arrange for these to be delivered).

Or if you need to go to a funeral of a family member or someone you live with.

Do other people in the household need to self-quarantine as well?

The people you’re quarantining with do not need to stay at home unless they travelled with you.

It’s important to still avoid as much contact with other people as possible to avoid the risk of transmitting coronavirus.

The government advises staying in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.

Who should self-quarantine because of coronavirus?

The UK government requires everyone who has returned from a country that is not on its list of “travel corridors” – countries where Britons can travel to and from the UK without having to self-quarantine afterwards – to quarantine for 14 days.

Additionally, if you transit through a country that is not exempt you will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

What is the penalty for not self-quarantining?

In England, if you do not self-isolate after returning from a country that is not on the “safe list”, you can be fined £1,000.

Additionally, if you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration – or do not update your contact detail form in the limited circumstances where you need to move from the accommodation where you’re self-isolating to another place to continue self-isolating – you can be fined up to £3,200.

You can read more about what the government advises regarding quarantine here.

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