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Mandatory UK quarantine for Dubai holidaymakers


Update: Holidaymakers returning to England from Dubai from Tuesday must self-isolate for up to 10 days.

Dubai has seen a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases since the New Year.

Scotland was the first to introduce a quarantine for arrivals from Dubai earlier today after a number of holidaymakers returned to Glasgow with the illness.

The number of coronavirus cases in Dubai are relatively low compared to the UK, but they have risen from 1,963 a day on 2 January to 2,998 on 9 January.

An unnamed Celtic footballer was one of those who tested positive for coronavirus after returning to Scotland from Dubai.

Scotland has introduced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the country from Dubai from today. It is also asking anyone who has returned since 3 January to self-isolate for 10 days from the day of their arrival.

England removed the requirement for arrivals from the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, to quarantine in mid-November when Dubai was deemed ‘safe’, but it has now reversed that decision following the rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

Aren’t all holidays banned anyway?

Lockdown restrictions in England prevent overseas leisure travel, but many people who had already booked holidays to countries including Dubai are still going ahead with their trips, say travel agents.

They say customers are willing to break the law, partly because some tour operators are refusing to refund holidays if the flights are still going ahead.

While most tour operators are giving customers the option to delay their holidays, some will only refund if the Foreign Office (FCDO) warns against non-essential travel – or the flights are cancelled. At the moment, the FCDO isn’t giving any specific advice against travelling to Dubai.

There have been reports of police carrying out spot checks at airports to make sure people aren’t breaking the lockdown restrictions, but some holidaymakers are allegedly getting around the rules by claiming they’re travelling on business, which is still allowed.

Isn’t the UK screening arrivals for Covid?

The UK Government says it will introduce mandatory screening for arrivals from this week, but no further details have been announced. All we know is that anyone coming into England will have to prove they have had a recent negative Covid test, but we don’t know the exact date this will come into force.

Even if and when screening is introduce, arrivals from countries not on the Government’s travel corridor list will still have to quarantine for 10 days but they will be able to end their isolation if they have a negative Covid test taken after five days.

Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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