What to do if you contract COVID while traveling in Europe

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Now that the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have been eased and only a few countries in Europe still have restrictions, travelers around the world are eager to explore the old continent and enjoy a wonderful summer vacation.

However, they might not be able to avoid contracting COVID-19, especially when visiting monuments and tourist destinations. According to recent data, popular destinations have seen a significant increase in cases, and the Omicron BA.5 variant has spread rapidly.

But what can travelers do if they catch COVID while travelling? Well he depends on the country they visit. Here are the rules in force in the most popular countries:

Italy: strict quarantine rules

Even though there are no entry restrictions, Italy still has some rules regarding COVID. Here’s what travelers need to know:

  • FFP2 masks are still mandatory on public transport, including buses, planes and trains. In hospitals and health centers, masks are also mandatory.
  • If you have symptoms related to COVID or have been in contact with someone infected with the virus, local authorities recommend that you isolate yourself and contact a doctor. Travelers can contact the national COVID hotline (1500) or regional hotlines.
  • The government is assisting travelers with COVID-19 testing.
  • According to the US Embassy in Italy, antigen tests cost about $20 and PCR tests about $70.
  • Travelers who test positive will be required to self-isolate, at their own expense, for 7-21 days. Only vaccinated travelers – or those who have recovered from COVID within the past 120 days – can quarantine for 7 days, unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for at least 10 days.
  • To exit self-isolation, travelers must have been symptom-free for more than 3 days and test negative. Only after 21 days of testing can positive travelers leave quarantine.

United Kingdom: No restrictions

The UK has also scrapped entry requirements, but here’s what travelers should keep in mind:

  • Travelers with symptoms or COVID-19 do not need to self-isolate.
  • Local authorities recommend avoiding contact with people for 5 days.
  • Travelers under the age of 18 must stay in their accommodation for three days.
  • Covid-19 tests are not free and prices can vary widely: from $47 to $594 depending on the type of test, location and delivery time of results.

France: self-isolation required

France still requires travelers to be vaccinated or present a recent negative test result and complete a health form. Here are the main considerations for travelers:

  • Masks are not mandatory but highly recommended in crowded places and on public transport.
  • Travelers are encouraged to download the local COVID-related app called “TousAntiCovid”.
  • Vaccinated travelers who test positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 7 days from the first day of symptoms or the day they test positive. If travelers feel well on day five and show no symptoms, they can leave quarantine early with a negative test result.
  • Unvaccinated travelers who test positive must quarantine for 10 days. If they feel better by day 7 and test negative for COVID-19, they can stop self-isolating.

Spain: just a few restrictions

Spain requires international travelers – outside the EU – to present proof of vaccination or a negative test result. Here are the current rules for travelers who contract COVID:

  • Those who are asymptomatic or who do not feel very sick are not required to quarantine. Travelers should self-isolate if feeling unwell.
  • Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recommended to wear a face mask for 10 days in crowded places, public transport and public indoor spaces, and to practice social distancing.

Portugal: self-isolation required

Lots of people are walking along the historic riverside of the Douro River, sunny day

Travelers have no entry restrictions, but if they do contract COVID, there are a few considerations:

  • Travelers who test positive must self-isolate for 7 days at their own expense.
  • In Madeira, the Azores and Porto Santo, self-isolation is only required for 5 days.
  • Travelers can get help from local hotlines or call 112 in an emergency.
  • Masks are mandatory in public transport, taxis, hospitals and pharmacies.

Germany: self-isolation required

Young tourist posing in front of the Berliner Dom, Berlin, Germany

There are no entry restrictions for travellers, but here is what they should know:

  • Face masks are mandatory on public transport and health centers.
  • Travelers with symptoms of COVID-19 should call the hotline 116 117 or a doctor.
  • Those who test positive must self-isolate for at least five days. After testing negative, travelers can stop quarantine.

Read more:

Malta finally removes all Covid entry requirements

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for 2022

8 tips for navigating travel chaos and flight delays this summer

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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice

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