UK cuts quarantine time to 10 days for foreign arrivals
UK health officials on Friday announced that the mandatory period of Covid-19-related quarantine for arrivals from India and other countries not on the ‘travel corridor list’ will be cut from 14 days to 10 days from Monday.
Chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland the Northern Ireland said in a statement that after reviewing evidence, they were now confident that the number of days can be reduced to 10 days. The ‘travel corridor list’ includes countries from where people need not self-isolate after arriving in England.
The reduced quarantine period also applies to those in the UK who come in contact with any person who has tested positive. People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic, they added.
The reduced quarantine is the latest relaxation for arrivals announced in recent days in moves welcomed by the travel and tourism industries.
From December 5, the quarantine period has been removed for individuals arriving in England for business activity that delivers significant benefit to the UK economy. From December 15, the quarantine period will be further reduced to five days if a test taken five days after arrival proves negative.
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 are only 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 also came into force on December 5 for domestic and international performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons, to ensure that industries which 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, under the plan called ‘Test to Release’, passengers arriving in 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.
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.