Self-isolation lifted for lower risk countries in time for holidays this summer

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  • Passengers returning to or visiting England from certain destinations including Germany, France, Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival from 10 July.
  • FCO will set out exemptions for a number of destinations from its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel, with changes coming into effect on 4 July.
  • All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.

Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will set out today (Friday 3 July).

The new measures will come into force from 10 July, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.

The list of countries will be published later today. A number of countries will be exempted from the requirement for passengers arriving into England to self-isolate for 14 days. All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.

The Government’s expectation is that a number of the exempted countries will also not require arrivals from the UK to self-isolate. This will mean that holidaymakers travelling to and from certain destinations will not need to self-isolate on either leg of their journey.

The exempted countries and territories will be kept under constant review, so that if the health risks increase self-isolation measures can be re-introduced to help stop the spread of the disease into England.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ international travel to exempt certain destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk of COVID-19.

When planning holidays or overseas travel, people should therefore check the latest FCO travel advice on gov.uk, including whether there are any self-isolation measures in place for their outbound or return journey.

If the country or territory they are visiting is exempt, they will not have to self-isolate on their return to England. Passengers should also stay alert to any changes to local public health measures while they are travelling, including by subscribing to FCO Travel Advice updates.

The Government continues to work closely with international partners around the world to discuss arrangements for travellers arriving from the UK and will continue this engagement ahead of the changes coming into force.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.

“The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.”

The FCO’s Travel Advice is based on an assessment of a range of factors that could present risks to British nationals when abroad, using different criteria to the list of countries exempted from self-isolation measures. It is based on a range of factors including epidemiological risks, capacity of local healthcare systems, transport options and law and order. These Travel Advice exemptions will come into effect on 4 July and will be kept under review.

All passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK, including details of countries or territories they have been in or through during the previous 14 days. Existing public health advice on hand hygiene, face coverings, and social distancing must also be followed.

The exemptions from self-isolation apply to all modes of international transport, including sea and international rail routes as well as flights.

The Devolved Administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.

BORDER MEASURES:

All passengers will still be required to provide contact information on arrival, including details of countries they have been through during the previous 14 days.

Passengers arriving into the UK should ensure they follow the guidance of the relevant devolved administration they are in.

If passengers have travelled or transited through a non-exempt country, they will be required to self-isolate for the remainder of 14 days since they left such a country.

Throughout this process public health has been at the heart of the Government’s decision making. We have been guided by the science and worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking are gradual and will minimise the risk of new COVID-19 cases while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) will continue to carry out analysis to ensure that country-by-country assessments are up to date. Analysis has been informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country and the weekly incidence rate (the number of new infections taking into account the population size). The data will continue to be monitored to help identify any changes and react appropriately.

The rules have not changed for those travelling from within the CTA (Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) – they continue not to apply to people unless they have arrived in the CTA from overseas within the last 14 days, in which case they will have to provide locator details and self-isolate on arrival here.

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE:

The FCO continues to advise against ‘all but essential’ travel to all other countries and territories.

The FCO has taken advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the risk of exposure to the virus, including the COVID-19 incidence rate and the resilience of local healthcare provision

The FCO has advised British nationals against ‘all but essential’ international travel since 17 March 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19 and the risks it presents to British nationals abroad.

Sea News, July 3

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra