COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Hit Doctors' Holiday Plans

Tim Locke

July 31, 2020

A Medscape UK poll finds many doctors are changing plans for overseas holidays due to self-isolation rules, but there's broad support for the restrictions, despite the impact they may have on people's plans. 

From last weekend anyone coming back to the UK from Spain was required to self-isolate for 14 days. The announcement was made at short notice and could cause problems for those unable to work from home.

Boris Johnson said "swift and decisive action" was needed, and warned of signs of a second COVID-19 wave in Europe.

Luxembourg has since also been removed from the 'travel corridor' list, and there have been warnings more countries could be affected if cases rise.

Self-isolation travel rules for the general public do also apply to health professionals returning to England, the Government confirmed.

An exemption put in place in June to ensure doctors and other professionals get home to provide essential healthcare has now been removed.

Doctors' Poll Results

With uncertainties over flights, bookings, holiday insurance, and quarantine, we wanted to know how this affected holiday plans.

The poll ran online from Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 July. There were 509 responses from UK health professionals, including 284 doctors.

Among doctors:

  • 39% had a holiday abroad booked this summer

  • 22% had a UK holiday booked

  • 38% were staying at home

We asked if participants were changing overseas holiday plans, or considering changes, due to the possibility of restrictions affecting their return.

Excluding those who said 'not applicable':

  • 56% said yes

  • 44% said no

We asked: Do you agree with the Government's willingness to introduce travel restrictions at short notice?

  • 72% said yes

  • 14% said no

  • 14% weren't sure

There was less support among those who'd booked an overseas holiday:

  • 59% said yes

  • 24% said no

  • 17% said not sure

All Health Professionals

Among all health professionals responding to the survey, including doctors:

  • 37% had a holiday abroad booked this summer

  • 24% had a UK holiday booked

  • 39% were staying at home

Excluding those who said 'not applicable', among participants asked if they were changing overseas holiday plans, or considering changes, due to the possibility of restrictions affecting their return:

  • 53% said yes

  • 47% said no

And when it came to agreement with the Government's willingness to introduce travel restrictions at short notice:

  • 71% said yes

  • 16% said no

  • 13% weren't sure

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