Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

19 January 2021

Article: 55/0302

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to evolve, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises British nationals against all but essential travel, exempting some countries that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This advice is being kept under constant review and may change at short notice.

The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages have been updated to include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, with every country being identified as high, moderate or low risk and each rating accompanied by appropriate travel advice. 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 is based on a robust public health assessment of the COVID-19 risks for travellers to each country and is regularly reviewed.

In January 2021, the COVID-19 risk for UK travellers was increased in the following countries: 

  • Aruba 
  • Bonaire 
  • Chile 
  • Falkland Islands 
  • Portugal 
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 
  • United Arab Emirates

The COVID-19 risk rating and travel advice from the FCDO is being kept under constant review and may change at short notice. All travellers are advised to continue following sensible precautions and consider the following sources of information listed below.

Advice for travellers

Before planning or booking international travel, please check: 

Mandatory testing for travellers

From 18 January 2021, travellers from international destinations, including returning UK nationals, must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival in Scotland, England and Wales. Further information on international arrivals in Northern Ireland is expected soon. This measure is being introduced to help protect against new strains of coronavirus circulating internationally.

The COVID-19 test must be undertaken a maximum of 72 hours prior to arrival back into Scotland, England or Wales. Travellers will have to make arrangements in the destination country to access testing. Failure to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test may result in boarding being denied for the journey, or a fine on arrival. This measure is in addition to the need to self-isolate on return to the UK.

Information relating to travel and COVID-19 is available on the TRAVAX (for healthcare practitioners) and fitfortravel (for the public) websites.

Information on COVID-19 for the general public is available on the NHS Inform (Scotland) and the NHS.UK (rest of the UK) websites.

Information and resources on COVID-19 for health professionals is available on the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) (Scotland) and Public Health England (PHE) (rest of the UK) websites.