Which countries are on the red list and what are the quarantine rules?

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The UK's "red list" of countries - from which entry to the UK is banned - has been expanded to include Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya and the Philippines.

The changes, which came into force on 9 April, follow concerns about the spread of new variants of coronavirus in these countries.

There are fears that vaccines may not work quite as well against these strains.

Which countries are on the red list?

The changes mean there are nearly 40 countries on the government's red list of countries from which travel is banned:

  • Middle East: Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Africa: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Asia: Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines
  • South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela

Countries can be added to the list with just a few hours' notice.

What is the traffic light system - and is it different from the red list?

For England, when holidaying is allowed, destination countries will be put in one of three colour-coded categories - with different rules for returning travellers.

Red - Countries on the red list will be in this category. British nationals or residents returning to the UK will have to pay for 10-day hotel quarantine. Non-British nationals/residents who have passed through red countries will be refused UK entry.

Amber - Details yet to be given, but it could require 10-day return quarantine at home, with possible early release after a negative test.

Green - No isolation needed, but pre-departure and post-arrival tests required

What are the hotel quarantine rules?

If someone has been in or through any red-list countries in the previous 10 days, they will be refused entry to the UK.

An exception is made for British or Irish passport holders - or people with UK residence rights - but they must first pay to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

In England, this costs £1,750 per passenger travelling alone, to cover transport, tests, food and accommodation.

Every additional adult, or child over 12, must pay £650, while children aged five to 12 pay £325.

They must also have proof of a negative coronavirus test to enter the UK.

Rule-breakers face strict penalties - including prison sentences of up to 10 years.

Could European countries end up on the red list?

Health minister Lord Bethell has said it's possible the UK's nearest neighbours could be added "with huge regret".

Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores) was on the list, but was removed on 19 March.

Under lockdown rules, holiday travel is not currently allowed - either in the UK or abroad.

You can only travel abroad for essential reasons - the same as the "reasonable excuses" for domestic travel, including:

  • Work that cannot be done from home
  • Medical appointments
  • Educational reasons
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What are the testing rules when I get back to the UK?

All travellers to the UK must complete a passenger locator form in advance, including their departure country and UK address.

They also have to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before travelling to be allowed entry.

There are specific rules for people arriving in each UK nation:

media captionHow do I quarantine after returning from abroad?

Returning travellers must take a coronavirus test on days two and eight of quarantine, at a cost of £210. If they test positive, they must self-isolate for a further 10 days.

There is a £1,000 penalty for not taking the test, followed by a £2,000 fine for failing to take the second one, with quarantine automatically extended to 14 days.

Can I pay for a test to shorten quarantine?

Under the "test to release" scheme, travellers from some countries can take a test on day five of isolation.

People who test negative can stop isolating. Those who test positive must quarantine for 10 more days after the test.

Anyone using the scheme still has to take a further test on the eighth day.

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CoronaVirus translator

What do all these terms mean?

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  • Antibodies test

    A medical test that can show if a person has had the coronavirus and now has some immunity. The test detects antibodies in the blood, which are produced by the body to fight off the disease.

  • Asymptomatic

    Someone who has a disease but does not have any of the symptoms it causes. Some studies suggest some people with coronavirus carry the disease but don't show the common symptoms, such as a persistent cough or high temperature.

  • Containment phase

    The first part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which involved trying to identify infected people early and trace anyone who had been in close contact with them.

  • Coronavirus

    One of a group of viruses that can cause severe or mild illness in humans and animals. The coronavirus currently sweeping the world causes the disease Covid-19. The common cold and influenza (flu) are other types of coronaviruses.

  • Covid-19

    The disease caused by the coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. It primarily affects the lungs.

  • Delay phase

    The second part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, in which measures such as social distancing are used to delay its spread.

  • Fixed penalty notice

    A fine designed to deal with an offence on the spot, instead of in court. These are often for driving offences, but now also cover anti-social behaviour and breaches of the coronavirus lockdown.

  • Flatten the curve

    Health experts use a line on a chart to show numbers of new coronavirus cases. If a lot of people get the virus in a short period of time, the line might rise sharply and look a bit like a mountain. However, taking measures to reduce infections can spread cases out over a longer period and means the "curve" is flatter. This makes it easier for health systems to cope.

  • Flu

    Short for influenza, a virus that routinely causes disease in humans and animals, in seasonal epidemics.

  • Furlough

    Supports firms hit by coronavirus by temporarily helping pay the wages of some staff. It allows employees to remain on the payroll, even though they aren't working.

  • Herd immunity

    How the spread of a disease slows after a sufficiently large proportion of a population has been exposed to it.

  • Immune

    A person whose body can withstand or fend off a disease is said to be immune to it. Once a person has recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus, Covid-19, for example, it is thought they cannot catch it again for a certain period of time.

  • Incubation period

    The period of time between catching a disease and starting to display symptoms.

  • Intensive care

    Hospital wards which treat patients who are very ill. They are run by specially-trained healthcare staff and contain specialist equipment.

  • Lockdown

    Restrictions on movement or daily life, where public buildings are closed and people told to stay at home. Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries as part of drastic efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Mitigation phase

    The third part of the UK's strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which will involve attempts to lessen the impact of a high number of cases on public services. This could mean the NHS halting all non-critical care and police responding to major crimes and emergencies only.

  • NHS 111

    The NHS's 24-hour phone and online service, which offers medical advice to anyone who needs it. People in England and Wales are advised to ring the service if they are worried about their symptoms. In Scotland, they should check NHS inform, then ring their GP in office hours or 111 out of hours. In Northern Ireland, they should call their GP.

  • Outbreak

    Multiple cases of a disease occurring rapidly, in a cluster or different locations.

  • Pandemic

    An epidemic of serious disease spreading rapidly in many countries simultaneously.

  • Phase 2

    This is when the UK will start to lift some of its lockdown rules while still trying to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

  • PPE

    PPE, or personal protective equipment, is clothing and kit such as masks, aprons, gloves and goggles used by medical staff, care workers and others to protect themselves against infection from coronavirus patients and other people who might be carrying the disease.

  • Quarantine

    The isolation of people exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread.

  • R0

    R0, pronounced "R-naught", is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person. If the R0 of coronavirus in a particular population is 2, then on average each case will create two more new cases. The value therefore gives an indication of how much the infection could spread.

  • Recession

    This happens when there is a significant drop in income, jobs and sales in a country for two consecutive three-month periods.

  • Sars

    Severe acute respiratory syndrome, a type of coronavirus that emerged in Asia in 2003.

  • Self-isolation

    Staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease.

  • Social distancing

    Keeping away from other people, with the aim of slowing down transmission of a disease. The government advises not seeing friends or relatives other than those you live with, working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

  • State of emergency

    Measures taken by a government to restrict daily life while it deals with a crisis. This can involve closing schools and workplaces, restricting the movement of people and even deploying the armed forces to support the regular emergency services.

  • Statutory instrument

    These can be used by government ministers to implement new laws or regulations, or change existing laws. They are an easier alternative to passing a full Act of Parliament.

  • Symptoms

    Any sign of disease, triggered by the body's immune system as it attempts to fight off the infection. The main symptoms of the coronavirus are a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

  • Vaccine

    A treatment that causes the body to produce antibodies, which fight off a disease, and gives immunity against further infection.

  • Ventilator

    A machine that takes over breathing for the body when disease has caused the lungs to fail.

  • Virus

    A tiny agent that copies itself inside the living cells of any organism. Viruses can cause these cells to die and interrupt the body's normal chemical processes, causing disease.

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