Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Thursday, August 13, that travelers from France and the Netherlands will no longer be exempt from quarantining for 14 days upon arrival in the UK. Other countries set to be removed from the list of countries exempt from quarantine measures are Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba. The new measures for travelers from these countries will apply from 04:00 (local time) on Saturday, August 15, and are based on rising infection rates of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). On Thursday, France reported 2524 COVID-19 cases, its highest daily figure since May, while the other aforementioned countries have also seen large jumps in case numbers. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have also amended their travel advice for these countries to advise against all but essential travel. Authorities similarly re-imposed quarantine measures on travelers from Spain from July 25, and Andorra, Belgium, and the Bahamas from August 8.
As of August 13, there have been 315,583 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, and 46,791 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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