Despite the spike in coronavirus cases, England announced a new policy cutting the mandatory quarantine period by more than half.

By Rachel Chang
November 24, 2020
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In the midst of its second nationwide lockdown through Dec. 2, England has announced that it will be cutting its mandatory 14-day quarantine period for international visitors down to five days, if they test negative after that isolation period. 

The announcement was made on Tuesday by transport secretary Grant Shapps and will apply to travelers who arrive from countries outside its travel corridor, including the United States, starting on Dec. 15, 2020. 

Called the “Test to Release for International Travel” strategy, international travelers will need to book and pay for their COVID-19 test from an approved private provider before they travel, as well as complete a passenger locator form, whether they’re arriving by plane, boat, or train.“Our new testing strategy will allow us to travel more freely, see loved ones and drive international business,” Shapps said. “By giving people the choice to test on day 5, we are also supporting the travel industry as it continues to rebuild out of the pandemic.”

Credit: HOLLIE ADAMS/AFP via Getty

The UK has seen a total of 1,531,267 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, with 1,314,888 of those cases being in England, as reported by the UK government’s coronavirus data site. Cases spiked again in early November, but have started a downward trend as the second lockdown went into place Nov. 5, though they are still exponentially higher than in the spring.

Despite the UK’s hope to rebuild the travel industry, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S., in addition to recommending travelers stay put for the Thanksgiving holiday, also released new recommendations over the weekend for Americans to get tested three times if they must travel abroad: one to three days before travel to the destination, one to three days before the return flight, and again three to five days after returning, in addition to self-isolating for a week, even with negative results. 

The news all comes as coronavirus numbers in the U.S. are hitting dire highs, with one model projecting that the nation will hit 20 million cases in less than two months, CNN reported, and Dr. Anthony Fauci telling Yahoo News that the coming months will bring a “stunning number of deaths.”