Guidance: Exemptions from managed quarantine for medical and compassionate reasons

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Managed quarantine is intended to help protect the UK from potentially harmful variants of coronavirus. There is support available to those who must stay in managed quarantine. If you need support from a family member, they should join you in managed quarantine.

There are some instances where you might be able to get an exemption from needing to enter managed quarantine. These exemptions are exceptional and limited, and you will need evidence to support your request.

All exemption enquiries and requests should be sent to

Medical exemptions

When an individual is travelling from a red list country and in need of urgent medical assistance, they do not have to quarantine in a managed quarantine facility. This is because it is expected they will immediately transfer into hospital and will undergo necessary testing and isolation there.

The public health risk of variants of concern is significant. It is preferable, in order to mitigate that risk, for individuals travelling from red list countries to enter managed quarantine to reduce the risk to the UK.

However, there are some extremely limited circumstances where due to pre-existing severe medical conditions or vulnerabilities, an individual may be incapable of entering a managed quarantine facility because they cannot be supported there. There is a package of medical and welfare support in managed quarantine available to all, and emergency healthcare is available. We would not expect all individuals with a pre-existing medical condition to request or receive an exemption from entering a managed quarantine facility.

When to apply for an exemption

You must apply for an exemption at least 7 days ahead of travel so the evidence can be assessed, and an exemption granted. If you do not apply for an exemption 7 days before travel, it may not be possible to grant one in advance of travel and you will need to book and pay to enter a managed quarantine facility on arrival.

What conditions must be met to qualify for an exemption

An exemption will only be granted where:

  • the existing medical condition or vulnerability is severe
  • sufficient evidence is provided that the needs of the individual cannot be met either through the provision at the managed quarantine facility, or from a household member joining the individual in managed quarantine
  • the medical condition or vulnerability will worsen in managed quarantine to such a significant degree that emergency treatment may become necessary
  • clinical evidence is supplied, providing clear evidence of existing treatment and conditions, explaining the risk to the patient and this evidence must be satisfactory to the assessor
  • any evidence provided in support of the application for an exemption is provided from a registered and suitably qualified healthcare professional with direct oversight of the individuals care and provision for that condition we do not generally expect this to be provided by your GP or equivalent in other countries

What kinds of medical conditions might qualify for an exemption

The kinds of medical conditions and supporting evidence that may be considered to require an exemption from managed quarantine might be:

  • a debilitating breathing difficulty where regular physiotherapy is necessary to support the lungs, or daily access to oxygen or a nebuliser might be required, and a physiotherapist or consultant advises it is not possible to manage in a managed quarantine facility
  • a severe mental health condition where a psychiatrist (for example) advises it would not be possible to maintain stability within a managed quarantine facility and emergency treatment may be required
  • severe cognitive disability that makes it unlikely an individual may be able to maintain personal hygiene and may become distressed if left alone, on the advice of a registered healthcare professional of suitable clinical expertise

Supplying evidence and how its assessed

Evidence must be supplied from the healthcare professional, applying professional clinical judgement on the basis of past treatment, and an assessment of whether it is possible for adequate care to be provided in a managed quarantine facility. This assessment includes considering whether additional medical support could be provided by telephone, or by a family member joining an individual in quarantine.

This will need to be assessed against the public health risk of variants of concern and conditions may be placed on any exemption.

Who exemptions apply to

Exemptions will only apply to the individual, and not the household travelling with the individual.

Exemptions for minors accompanied by parents, guardians or carers

Where the exemption is for a young person under the age of 18 who is travelling with a parent/guardian or carer, an exemption may also be given to the person accompanying them if either:

  • there is no means of alternative care evidenced for that minor in the home environment
  • the individual is physically unable to care for themselves and is travelling with a carer, there is evidence that there is no alternative provision, and it is advised that it is essential for that carer to quarantine with the individual

However, if a medically exempt individual is a minor, and travelling with more than one parent, or a larger household, only one parent/guardian/appropriate adult will be permitted an exemption and the rest of the household will be required to enter managed quarantine.

How decisions are made

Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, and an exemption may not be granted in advance.

Decisions will be communicated in writing. You will need to present evidence on arrival at the border that you have been granted an exemption and to have booked and paid for the day 2 and day 8 tests.

What else you must do

You will still need to complete the passenger locator form and arrangements must be made for travel. You cannot use public transport to travel to your place of self-quarantine.

Compassionate exemptions

In extremely limited circumstances, where it is not possible to accommodate a visit to a severely ill or dying relative or member of your household from within managed quarantine, you may be able to be exempt.

You will need to supply evidence, including from the hospice or medical facility that you will be visiting.

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