Self-isolation for arrivals into the UK from non-travel corridor destinations is to be reduced to 10 days from Monday.
The reduced quarantine period, from the current 14 days, also applies to those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
The approach has been agreed by all four UK nations and follows a review of the currently available evidence from each country’s chief medical officer.
Changes were announced by the UK’s chief medical officers and will come into force from Monday, December 14. It already applies in Wales.
Health chiefs said in a joint statement that they were “confident” the self-isolation period could be shortened.
“Self-isolation is essential to reducing the spread of COVID as it breaks the chains of transmission,” they said.
“After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10 days.
England’s test to release scheme comes into force on Tuesday, December 15. From then, those who take a COVID test on their fifth day in the UK can be released from the self-isolation period if they receive a negative result.
Chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, Karen Dee said: “The reduction in the quarantine period along with the imminent start of the test-to-release system in England are welcome steps forward that can help boost the safe restart of international travel, increase consumer confidence and begin to pave the way towards an open ‘Global Britain’.
“However, aviation will only fully recover when the need for quarantine is eliminated on a four-nation basis. UK airports are committed to working with the UK and devolved governments to ensure that pre-departure and rapid testing can be brought in a soon as possible to remove the quarantine altogether.
“Aviation is essential to our economic recovery as well as wider agendas such as ‘Global Britain’, levelling-up and inclusive, sustainable growth. However, UK airports have been among the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic. That means the UK and devolved governments must continue to work with our airports to provide the necessary financial support to safeguard the future of aviation and thus UK prosperity.”