UK authorities announced on Thursday, August 6, that Andorra, Belgium, and the Bahamas will be removed from the safe travel list due to a higher risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in these countries. Transport Minister Grant Shapps announced that, from 04:00 (local time) on Saturday, August 8, the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days will be applied to all travelers arriving in the UK from these countries. Reportedly, the decision was taken in an effort to control the UK's rate of transmission.
The UK government announced on July 30 the reintroduction of certain COVID-19 restrictions in parts of northern England amid increasing rates of transmission in some areas. Separate households are not be allowed to meet indoors in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and parts of West Yorkshire from midnight on July 31. Reportedly, the increased rate of transmission is down to households meeting and not abiding by social distancing. According to reports, millions of people in Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradford, Calderdale, and Kirklees are impacted by the tightening of restrictions. The same restrictions also apply to Leicester.
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. Furthermore, UK authorities announced a list of countries and territories from which travelers are able to travel to England without facing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period upon arrival.
Despite the easing of some restrictions, face masks are compulsory in supermarkets, shops, and public transport in England. Gatherings of more than 30 people remain prohibited. Additional restrictions are in place for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which may include mandatory quarantine measures or bans for international travelers. The UK Department for Transport announced on July 25 that, with immediate effect, travelers arriving from Spain will be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
As of Thursday, August 6, there have been 309,784 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 46,498 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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