UK Department for Transport announced on Saturday, July 25, that with immediate effect, returning travelers from Spain will be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival amid a recent spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The move comes as Spanish authorities have warned that a possible second wave of cases could be imminent as Madrid and Barcelona have seen cases surge in recent days, with a total of 922 cases reported nationwide on Friday, July 24. Officials are also tracking a further 280 active outbreaks across the country. According to media outlets, several travel operators have already announced the cancellation of all planned holidays to Spain in response to the announcement.
Previously, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that face masks are compulsory in supermarkets and shops in England from July 24 to stem the further spread of the disease. Non-compliance may result in fines of up to £100 and the police, not retail staff, will be responsible for the enforcement of the restriction.
UK authorities announced a list of over 70 countries and territories from which travelers are able to travel to England from without facing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. The countries and territories listed by the British government have all been classified as 'low risk' in regards to COVID-19. A full list of the countries can be found here. Additional restrictions are in place for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which may include mandatory quarantine measures or bans for international travelers.
From July 4, a number of COVID-19 restrictions were eased in the rest of England, with restaurants, pubs, cinemas, and hotels being permitted to reopen. However, the government has reserved the right to keep premises with a higher risk of transmission closed. Places of worship and outdoor gyms also were allowed to reopen. Gatherings of more than 30 people remain prohibited. Face masks remain compulsory on public transportation services.
As of July 25, there have been 300,270 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and 45,823 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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