The Government has quietly changed the quarantine rules for NHS and care workers and the new law comes in force from Friday.
Until now NHS staff and social care workers were exempt from the 14-day quarantine period imposed on anyone arriving in the UK from a ‘high-risk’ country such as Spain.
The exemption meant that as soon as a doctor, nurse or care-home worker got home they could return to work.
But they will now need to quarantine alongside everyone else, reports the Mirror.
The guidance released on Thursday reads: “The move brings them in line with the general public and further protects the NHS and social care system from the spread of coronavirus from overseas, as signs of second waves begin to show in other countries.
“Following review of whether the measure is still necessary, an exemption has been removed to minimise the risk of onward chains of transmission that might infect the wider workforce.”
The exemption for healthcare workers was put in place in June, when quarantine rules were first brought in.
NHS staff and carers who are spending their holidays in countries with so-called travel corridors, such as France and Italy, will not have to quarantine, in line with the rest of the public.
The change means any health and care workers currently in Spain will unexpectedly have to quarantine when they return home.
And it means anyone from the NHS or social care system who was planning on going on holiday to a country not on the quarantine-free list may now have to scrap their plans.