A man uses a phone at a bus stop in London.(REUTERS)
A man uses a phone at a bus stop in London.(REUTERS)

Covid-19: No UK quarantine for business activity from today

From 4am on Saturday, individuals undertaking specific business activity that would deliver a significant benefit to the economy - including activity that creates or preserves more than 50 UK jobs - will no longer need to self-isolate when travelling or returning from non-exempt countries
By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON DEC 05, 2020 05:09 PM IST

There will be no mandatory 14-day Covid-19 quarantine from Saturday for individuals arriving in England for business activity that delivers significant benefit to the British economy, the UK government said, announcing a list of exemptions.

From 4am on Saturday, individuals undertaking specific business activity that would deliver a significant benefit to the economy - including activity that creates or preserves more than 50 UK jobs - will no longer need to self-isolate when travelling or returning from non-exempt countries.

Scheduled international flights are currently suspended, but a limited number of flights are operating between the UK and India under a bilateral agreement. Such flights are subject to eligibility criteria and details may change at short notice, the foreign office said.

Individuals will only be exempt from quarantine requirements when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity, the announcement said.

Exemptions will also come into force at the same time for domestic and international performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons, to ensure that industries that require high-talent individuals who rely on international connections can continue to complete their work.

Health officials at Public Health England do not anticipate that the exemptions will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, but add that all exemptions will remain under review.

From December 15, the quarantine period for all others arriving in England will be reduced to five days if a test taken five days after arrival proves negative. The relaxation has been welcomed by the struggling tourism and airline sectors as being “long overdue”.

Passengers arriving into England from countries not on the government’s travel corridor list will have the option to take the test after five days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing them from the need to isolate.

Under the plan called “test to release”, officials said passengers arriving into England by plane, ferry or train should book their test before they travel; must complete a passenger locator form; and will still need to self-isolate for five days before taking the test.

The test will need to booked at the traveller’s expense from an approved list of providers. Those choosing not to take a test when arriving from a non-exempt country must continue to follow the current self-isolation requirements of 14 days.

The plan has been put in place based on advice from a consortium of expert representatives from the aviation, maritime, international rail, tourism and hospitality industries to boost international travel for all modes, whilst safeguarding public health in the UK.

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