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What you must do to keep Wales safe from coronavirus when arriving from abroad.

First published:
7 June 2020
Last updated:

This guidance applies to people travelling to Wales from outside of the UK.  It is for people arriving directly in Wales and for those arriving elsewhere in the UK and then travelling on to Wales.

Isolation requirements when you arrive in Wales

You will not need to isolate for 14 days if you are arriving in Wales from within the Common Travel Area, which includes the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Since 10 July 2020 the Welsh Government has issued a list of exempt countries and territories which provides that passengers arriving in Wales from those listed countries and territories are exempted from the 14-day isolation requirement.

The list of exempt countries and territories has been updated regularly since 10 July 2020 to reflect the changes to the level of risk to public health across the globe. The list of exempt countries and territories and the corresponding transitional provisions can be found here.

If a country or territory from which you depart or which you travel through is not on the list of exempt countries, then that country is a non-exempt country. If, at the time you arrive in Wales you have been in a non-exempt country in the last 14 days then you will need to isolate for the remainder of the 14 day period, although you will be able discount any time immediately before that spent elsewhere in the Common Travel Area or in a place on the exempted countries list.   

There are a number of other categories of person which are exempted from the 14-day isolation requirement.  

Please refer to the detailed guidance on who does and does not need to isolate, for the most up to date information.

If you are exempt from isolation requirements, you will still need to observe social distancing in Wales.

Why isolating is important

When you arrive in Wales and are required to isolate, it is very important that you stay in your accommodation for 14 days. It can take up to 14 days for you to develop coronavirus symptoms after you catch the virus and in this time you can pass it on to others. Isolating will reduce the chance of the transmission of coronavirus in Wales and help prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the NHS in Wales.

How to travel to the place where you are isolating

All arrivals from non-exempt countries must travel directly to the premises that are suitable to reside in until the end of the last day of their isolation.

Only use public transport if you have no other option.

If necessary, and you have a long journey within the UK to arrive at your isolation accommodation, you can stop overnight before continuing your journey. You must isolate and provide the address of your overnight stop on your Passenger Locator Form.

If you develop coronavirus symptoms when you are travelling to the UK or Wales, you should tell the crew on your plane or boat. They will let staff in the airport, port or station know, so they can tell you what you should do next when you arrive.

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you will not be allowed to travel by public transport and will need to demonstrate that the accommodation where you will isolate is safe.

How to isolate in your accommodation

You should isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You must isolate at the address you provided on the Passenger Locator Form.

This can include:

  • your own home
  • staying with friends or family
  • a hotel or other temporary accommodation

You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing essential care. The only friends and family who you can have contact with are those who travelled with you or people who you are staying with.

You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should not go shopping unless necessary - if you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery.

See guidance on getting food and essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic if you need help in this area.

In Wales, a person who is isolating must not leave their premises to exercise. 

In Wales, you can only leave your premises in limited circumstances. These include where:

  • you need urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance) or access to veterinary care for a pet within your and it is not possible or practicable for someone else in your accommodation to do this;
  • you need access to basic necessities like food and medicines and you haven’t been able to arrange for another person to get them or they cannot be delivered;
  • you need to access public services such as social services and victim support services that are critical to your well-being and cannot be accessed if you remain on the premises;
  • you need to leave for compassionate reasons; for example you attend the funeral of a family member or a close friend;
  • you carry out specified activities in relation to edible horticulture, but only if you are residing at the premises in connection with those activities;
  • you are avoiding illness or injury or escaping a risk of harm;
  • you need to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;
  • you are competing in a specified sporting event or providing coaching or other support to a person who is competing in such an event, to participate in the event or to undertake training or other activities connected to the event;
  • you are officiating at, or involved in running, such a sporting event, to attend the event or to undertake activities connected to officiating or running the event;
  • you are, in the course of your work, involved in broadcasting such a sporting event, to attend the event for the purpose of the broadcast or to undertake preparatory activities connected to broadcasting of the event;
  • you are, in the course of your work, involved in journalistic activity at such a sporting event, to attend the event for the purpose of undertaking that activity.

You should not change the place where you are isolating except in limited circumstances. These circumstances will include where:

  • a legal obligation requires you to change the premises at which you reside for the purpose of an isolation requirement;
  • you are otherwise unable to remain at the premises at which you are residing for the purpose of an isolation requirement.

If this happens, you must complete a new Passenger Locator Form with the address of the alternative premises as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Within your accommodation

The people you're staying with do not need to stay at home, unless they travelled with you. Avoid contact with them and minimise the time you spend in shared spaces, like kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas.

If you’re staying in a hotel or guest house, you must stay away from others who didn’t travel with you, so it’s important that you don’t use shared areas such as bars, restaurants, health clubs and sports facilities. Stay 2 metres apart from other people staying there at all times.

It is important to avoid contact with other people in your home in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus. You should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home.

If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. If you have to share these facilities, regular cleaning will be required after each person has used them. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying yourself after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.

Washing your hands and keeping good hygiene

Everyone should wash their hands regularly, but this is particularly important for people who have recently travelled to the UK because you could have contracted coronavirus and not yet developed symptoms. Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly.

After isolating for 14 days

If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 14 days, you can stop isolating. You must still observe social distancing.

What to do if you get coronavirus symptoms

You should look for any of the following symptoms in the 14 days after the day you arrive in the UK:

  • new continuous cough
  • high temperature
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you have any of these symptoms, you should continue to isolate at home. If you are staying with others and you develop symptoms, the whole household that you are staying with will need to begin isolating.

You should apply for a test if you have the symptoms of coronavirus. Please see the guidance on testing for more information.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS Wales 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you develop symptoms, you must isolate for at least 14 days from the point you arrived in the UK and if you get symptoms during that time for at least 7 days from symptom onset, until you are better and no longer have a high temperature. You will need to isolate for 14 days from the time that you arrived in the UK even if you have had and recovered from coronavirus symptoms in this time. If you are tested and receive a negative result for coronavirus, you must continue to isolate until you have been in the UK for 14 days, even if your symptoms have gone.

If you arrived in the UK more than 14 days ago, you do not need to continue isolation once you have had symptoms for 7 days and your temperature has returned to normal.  Symptoms of a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste can last for several weeks after the infection has gone and so you can stop isolating even if you have these symptoms. The household you are staying with should isolate for 14 days from the point that your symptoms start.

If you develop new symptoms or your existing symptoms worsen within your 14-day isolation period, then please contact NHS Wales 111 again and follow their advice.

Support to help you isolate in your own accommodation

Staying at home may be difficult, frustrating or lonely, but there is help available if you are struggling due to coronavirus.

Exemptions

A small proportion of people travelling to Wales for purposes such as  maintain essential supply chains, critical national infrastructure or other essential government work will not need to self-isolate and / or complete a Passenger Locator Form. If you are a seasonal agricultural worker, you must remain on the farm where you are working and staying for the first 14 days. Read the detailed guidance on who does not need to isolate

Like everyone in the Wales, if you get the symptoms of coronavirus you should not travel and should immediately isolate even if otherwise you are exempt. You must follow the guidance on staying safe and social distancing.

Enforcement

An adult who contravenes an isolation requirement or provides false or misleading information to the Government commits an offence.

A fixed penalty notice will be issued which provides that person with the opportunity to pay the penalty within 28 days to avoid being convicted of the offence. The first penalty will be for the sum of £60 and every subsequent penalty will be double the amount of the last penalty (i.e. 2nd penalty £120, 3rd penalty £240 etc.).