26 Jan 2021 by Olga Brighton
Traveling at a time when the world is still in a coronavirus pandemic can be complicated. So what are the latest Coronavirus travel restrictions?
If you’re looking to travel in the near future, check that your intended trip dates don’t conflict with your Government’s advice, or a travel ban. Travel restrictions vary depending on the country you live in, so it is essential that you check before you book a trip or try to travel. Politicians remain extremely reluctant to commit to any dates when Coronavirus travel restrictions, or lockdowns will ease. UK Health Minister Matt Hancock has said it is "difficult to put a timeline" on when England's lockdown could be lifted, so tight restrictions are likely to stay in place for a few weeks more. The UK Government says the travel corridor closure will be ‘reviewed’ later in February 2021.
We recommend you check the latest guidance from your local Government as official advice is subject to frequent change, sometimes without notice. The same goes for your transport providers. Just because you were able to book your flight, doesn’t mean it will go ahead. Remember, if your travel provider cancels your booked trip due to Coronavirus, they are your first port of call to see what alternative options are available to you.
Read also: Coronavirus Travel Insurance
As at 25th January, 2021, the UK FCDO still states: “Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so”. Reasons that may permit you to travel include work that cannot be done from home, necessary medical appointments, educational reasons. These latest restrictions are a ban on travel, which is different from advice not to travel. You can check FCDO advice for the country you plan to visit for the latest update on the travel corridor and the current Coronavirus travel restrictions.
Most EU countries are also implementing tighter restrictions and requirements around international travel, like the Belgian Government who have prohibited all non-essential travel to and from Belgium from 27 January to 1 March 2021. Most locations require you to have taken and present evidence of a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours before your arrival at your chosen destination. This is in line with the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en and other health organisations.
If you are permitted to travel under your local Government rules (and those of the location you intend to travel to): in addition to producing a negative test, its highly likely that you must self-isolate when you enter your destination and also when you return. The length of time of the isolation period and rules you must follow will vary on your location and where you have come from. The FCDO advise the following on UK Border self-isolation requirements. All travellers returning to the UK now need to quarantine for 10 days. Anyone arriving to the UK from outside the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man or Ireland in the previous 10 days (including British and Irish citizens) must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before you begin your journey; Self-isolate for 10 days when you arrive in the UK (there are some exemptions in some situations).
Advice from most travel experts is to buy travel insurance at the same time as you book your trip. Many policies now include certain Coronavirus cover, including emergency medical expense and cancellation cover if you or travel companions catch COVID-19. You are less likely to find a Travel Insurance policy that covers your cancellation costs as a result of an area imposed COVID restriction, so check the details of cover offered in all cases. Our recommendation is get yourself covered with a policy that suits your particular requirements, so you have better peace of mind in such uncharted times. Also check your local Government advice regularly so you know how it may impact your travel plans.
Read also: Travel Corridor Update