Health and care workers to self-isolate on return to England from high-risk countries

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The move brings them in line with the general public and further protects the NHS and social care system from the spread of coronavirus from overseas, as signs of second waves begin to show in other countries.

Following review of whether the measure is still necessary, an exemption has been removed to minimise the risk of onward chains of transmission that might infect the wider workforce.

An exemption was originally put in place, at the beginning of June, which meant registered health and care professionals did not have to self-isolate when travelling to England from overseas.

This was to help ensure health and care workers travelling back from overseas could return to the England to provide essential healthcare, helping to strengthen the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and save lives.

Following the reopening of travel routes, and as more people begin to holiday abroad, the government has removed this exemption and, from 31 July, all registered health and care professionals must lawfully self-isolate when returning to England from a high-risk country.

The current list of countries exempt from self-isolation measures is available on GOV.UK. The data for all countries and territories is kept under constant review, and the exemptions list is updated with any changes on a regular basis as and when required to reflect the shifting international health picture.

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Health and care professionals returning from a country which has a travel corridor to the UK will not be required to self-isolate on return.

This amendment to the regulations will ensure consistency with wider self-isolation measures and continue to protect public health. 

Background information

Information on travel corridors can be found here

Any changes to the regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a matter for the devolved authorities.

Published 30 July 2020
Last updated 31 July 2020 + show all updates

  1. The headline and summary have been changed to show that the rules apply to health and care workers returning to England, not the UK.

  2. First published.


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