Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

26 October 2021

Article: 55/4303

International travel continues to be impacted due to COVID-19, and a number of variant strains have emerged globally, with information on such travel available for people living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

On 4 October 2021, the traffic light system for travel to the UK was simplified. There are specific rules for travellers travelling to the UK from a red list country or territory in the ten days before arrival, and different rules for travellers arriving from the rest of the world, which vary depending on the traveller's COVID-19 vaccination status. These rules do not indicate which destinations allow UK travellers to enter their country, and this should be checked on the FCDO foreign travel advice country pages.

Currently, anyone aged over 18 years who is fully vaccinated and entering Scotland from a non-red list country or area will be required to complete a passenger locator form and take a COVID-19 PCR test within two days of arrival. Isolation is only required if the COVID-19 test result is positive, or NHS Scotland Test and Protect makes contact to inform of the need to isolate due to travelling with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Travellers should be aware that testing and quarantine rules may differ in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland and must ensure they comply with the rules appropriate to the UK nation they will be arriving in and reside in, if different.

Country specific COVID-19 risk

The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages have been updated have been updated to include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, which identifies the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers. This information will be listed in the ‘Alerts’ section on each country page of fitfortravel and the 'Emerging Health Risks' section of every TRAVAX country page. This risk-rating, previously categorised as either high, moderate or low risk, has been changed, with each country now rated as having either a: 

  • high risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers 
  • risk of exposure to COVID-19 for UK travellers

For all countries, travellers should be aware that the risk of COVID-19 may change at short notice. Countries categorised as having a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 either have a high risk of exposure for travellers to COVID-19, or a high risk of emerging or known variants of coronavirus. Travellers should be advised to avoid non-essential travel to high risk countries, even if fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Advice for travellers

Prior to booking any international travel, travellers must first check if the country they are travelling to is currently accepting UK travellers. 

  • The FCDO foreign travel advice country pages have up-to-date information on entry rules, in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), under the ‘Entry Requirements’ section. 
  • Travellers should be aware that some countries or territories may require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status for entry. Guidance for demonstrating COVID-19 vaccination status is available for those living in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is advised that travellers are aware of all travel restrictions, self-isolation rules and precautions they should take, in order to reduce their risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) before, during and after travel, as detailed on the fitfortravel COVID-19 health considerations for travel page.

Source: TRAVAX, 5 October 2021