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UK Borders: Self-Isolation Exemptions

Volume 678: debated on Monday 29 June 2020

On 8 June, regulations came into force across the UK requiring people arriving into the UK from outside the common travel area to self-isolate for 14 days, with the exception of those on a short list of exemptions. These measures have contributed to keeping the number of covid-19 transmissions in the UK as low as possible, helping to protect us from a second wave of the virus.

Today I can confirm that the Government will shortly begin to ease the health measures at the UK border, allowing passengers to be exempted from self-isolation requirements in certain circumstances on arrival in the UK. This will apply to international rail, maritime, and aviation.

The joint biosecurity centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the chief medical officer, has developed a categorisation of countries and territories from which it is considered passengers entering the UK present a lower risk from a public health perspective without a requirement for 14 days’ self-isolation. This has been informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country and, crucially, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory in the coming weeks of the disease in the country. This categorisation will inform ministerial decisions about the easing of the current border measures.

I will announce further details including a full list of the countries and territories from which arriving passengers will be exempted from self-isolation requirements later this week. Although people will not need to self-isolate after entering the UK from these countries, they must not be complacent about following the public health advice on hand hygiene and social distancing.

Separately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reviewing its travel advice. Further details will be announced later this week.

Throughout this process public safety has been at the heart of our 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.