A change has been announced to the quarantine period for travelers arriving from the majority of destinations to the UK, as well as for contacts of positive COVID-19 cases. The self-isolation period was first introduced six months ago and currently stands at 14 days.

It has been announced that the self-isolation period for travelers from countries not on the travel corridor list will be reduced to 10 days in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from December 14. Wales has already reduced the time period following an announcement by the Welsh government earlier this week. The new rules also apply to those who are currently self-isolating, including those who began their stint before the 14th.

A decorated Christmas tree with a flight departures display in the background
The quarantine period for travelers arriving from the majority of destinations to the UK has been reduced © Getty Images/iStockphoto

The changes were announced in a joint statement by the UK's four chief medical officers following a review of the current available evidence. "Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of COVID as it breaks the chains of transmission," they said. "After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days. People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from the point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic. We urge everyone to self-isolate when appropriate – it will save lives."

A new "test and release" scheme will be introduced on December 15, where travelers arriving into England from high-risk countries can cut their quarantine time if they test negative for COVID-19. They can self-isolate for five days and take a single coronavirus test on the fifth day, which is paid for by the passenger and costs £100 (€132). The test has a fast turnaround time with results usually provided within an hour.

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