Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic update

16 November 2021

Article: 55/4602

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.

As of 1 November 2021, there are no countries or territories on the UK’s international travel red list, however the policy is continuing in Scotland, as in the rest of the UK, and some managed quarantine capacity will stay in place in order to react to any change in assessment that would see a country added to the red list. The travel lists do not indicate which destinations are currently allowing UK travellers to enter their country, nor if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against travel to these countries. Information relating to this can be checked on the relevant FCDO foreign travel advice country pages.

Currently, anyone entering Scotland who is over 18 years and fully vaccinated can take a lateral flow test bought from a private provider, instead of a PCR test, on the second day after their arrival, and will also be required to complete a passenger locator form. Travellers who receive a positive lateral flow test result must isolate and book a confirmatory PCR test immediately.

Testing and quarantine rules may differ in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, therefore travellers 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 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.

As of 5 November 2021, the following countries have a FCDO advisory warning against travel and have therefore been classified as having a high risk of exposure to COVID-19: 

  • Afghanistan 
  • Burundi 
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea 
  • Guinea-Bissau 
  • Haiti 
  • Nicaragua 
  • Papua New Guinea 
  • Timor Leste 
  • Turkmenistan 
  • Venezuela 
  • Yemen

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, 2 November 2021