No10 Statement Issued
The Government is concluding the first review of its Public Health Measures at the border for those entering the UK from abroad, based on robust public health criteria, with full details expected to be set out next week.
In line with the roadmap we set out on 11 May, self-isolation requirements were introduced for those coming into the UK three weeks ago for public health reasons to reduce the risk of new cases of infection being brought into the UK from abroad. This policy is a crucial part of our plan to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections in the UK, and will continue to be so.
We will continue to keep these measures in place for international arrivals from countries not yet deemed to be safe, as well as requirements for all passengers entering the UK to supply their contact information. On the 11 May we set out that these measures would be kept under regular review. Now that the risk of infections being imported from certain countries is lower the Government will therefore soon be able to disapply public health measures at the border to arrivals from those countries.
This will make it easier for people to travel to those countries by removing the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, although they will still be required to complete a passenger locator form in order to enter the UK. This is only possible alongside constant monitoring of each country’s situation to ensure we avoid a resurgence of coronavirus in the UK. And we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge in the UK or within those countries we deem to be on our covid travel list.
We know many people may not yet choose to travel, but this cautious change will allow those who need to travel for work to do so without the need to self-isolate on their return, as well as those who may want to holiday abroad this summer, and also provide a vital lifeline for UK travel operators and those whose jobs rely on the travel industry.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England, has drawn up a categorisation of countries it is deemed safe for people to enter the UK from without needing to self-isolate based on strict public health criteria.
Countries have been classified as green, amber and red depending on their risk assessment, informed by factors including the prevalence of coronavirus within the country, our confidence in the reliability of their data, and crucially the trajectory of the disease in the country. Low risk countries in the green and amber categories will be exempt from public health measures at the border.
A strict handbrake mechanism will be put in place so that if an outbreak occurs in another country – even within a particular part of the country – or if we have concerns about increasing numbers of cases in an individual country, their risk category will change and we will immediately reintroduce self-isolation requirements. These measures will be kept under constant review and we will be able to reimpose public health measures at the borders for individual countries where the risk changes immediately.
A full list of the low risk countries in the green and amber categories where people will be able to enter the UK from without being required to self-isolate will be published next week, and it is expected that travel will be able to resume with countries on our covid travel list the following week.
The UK is likely to discuss these arrangements with countries including France, Greece and Spain over the coming days.
Airports, ports and Eurotunnel have worked hard to put in place covid secure requirements to keep those travelling as safe as possible, and all passengers will be required by law to wear face coverings on planes and ferries to protect others.
A Government spokesperson said:
“Our public health measures at the border were put in place to manage the risk of imported cases and help prevent a second wave of the virus, and will continue to support our fight against coronavirus.
“Our new risk-assessment system will enable us to carefully open a number of safe travel routes around the world – giving people the opportunity for a summer holiday abroad and boosting the UK economy through tourism and business.
“But we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if any risks re-emerge, and this system will enable us to take swift action to re-introduce self-isolation measures if new outbreaks occur overseas.”