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Covid-19 update

As of July 19, 2021, throughout England, most restrictions have been lifted and people are advised to use their own personal judgement to manage their own risk. 

For further information on official guidelines for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and specific regions of England, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Use of masks- Face masks are recommended in enclosed environments and on public transportation. Private businesses and workplaces may set their own policies or guidance.

Public transport- Public transportation is operating as usual.

Restaurants- Restaurants are open as usual without limits to capacity or group size.

Bars- Bars are open as usual without limits to capacity or group size.

Nightclubs- Nightclubs are open as usual without limits to capacity or group size.

Shops- Shops are open as usual but may set their own safety measures, such as the use of hand sanitiser and mask requirements.

Travelling to the UK

Currently, the UK Government has listed countries and territories as either red, amber or green. The rules for testing and quarantine when you arrive in England are different for each list.

Check the red, amber and green list to find the rules for the country or territory you’re travelling from or have travelled through.

 You should follow separate advice if you travel to:

If you travel to England, before the trip you must:

·   take a COVID-19 test – you must take the test in the 3 days before you travel to England

·   book and pay for COVID-19 tests – to be taken after arrival in England

·   complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before the trip

You must do these things whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

Vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers travelling (entering or transiting) to the United Kingdom will be required to complete the UK Passenger Locator Form. The form must include the booking reference number for the 2 COVID-19 tests or the invoice number for the quarantine hotel booking. You must complete this form online before you arrive in the UK, even if you’re arriving from a country on the travel corridors list. The form must be presented at the time of check-in and upon arrival.

You can include someone under 18 years old who is travelling with you on your form if you are staying together at the same UK address.

 The form online can be filled earliest 48 hours before arrival in the UK.

After you complete the form you will receive a QR code via email. You can print this out or show it on your phone as proof of completion. 

Rules if you’re fully vaccinated

 If you’re coming to England from an amber list country and have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the bodies listed in this guide you:

  • must take a COVID-19 pre-departure test
  • must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England – arrival day is day 0
  • do not have to quarantine

‘Fully vaccinated’ means you must have had your final dose of the approved vaccine at least 14 whole days before you arrive in England.

The day you have your final dose does not count as one of the 14 days.

 You must have been fully vaccinated with one of the following approved vaccines.

Approved vaccines in the UK

 You must have been fully vaccinated under:

·   the UK vaccination programme

·   the UK vaccine programme overseas

·   an approved vaccination programme in Europe or the USA – not all are recognised in England

Recognised vaccines for Europe

You must have been fully vaccinated in:

·   an EU country

·   Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican City

If you were vaccinated in a different European country it will not be recognised in England. The vaccine must have been authorised by:

·   the European Medicines Agency (EMA)

·   Swissmedic for Switzerland

Passengers must present proof of vaccination. The certificate/document must be a hard copy, photos or scanned copies will not be accepted and it may be requested at different points of the trip. Travellers must present proof of vaccination that complies with the United Kingdom’s requirements.

To be considered fully vaccinated by the United Kingdom you must comply with the following: 

 Accepted Vaccines in the UK: 

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer)
  • Moderna
  • Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)
  • Janssen
  • Vaccines part of a UK-approved vaccine trial

 Vaccines NOT accepted in the UK:

  • Sinopharm
  • Sputnik V
  • Covidshield

Other restrictions

If another country has been visited in the previous 10 days which appears on the ‘red list’, travellers will not be allowed to enter the United Kingdom. There are exceptions for nationals and residents of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

Affected travellers may be required to follow the requirements on entry based on the red country, which involves a 10-day hotel quarantine.

A list of affected countries and the requirements can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england

Vaccinated traveller exceptions

Travellers who present a valid certificate for full vaccination against COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine requirements and further testing on day 8 after arrival. The final dose must have been administered at least 14 days before departure.

Vaccinated travellers are still required to present a pre-departure test and must book a COVID-19 self-test for day 2 after arrival.

Fully vaccinated arrivals from EU countries with vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or Swissmedic, and arrivals from the USA with vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be accepted. Those vaccinated in the US will be required to provide proof of US residency.

Quarantine required

Travellers are required to self-quarantine for 10 days on arrival at their own residence or accommodation, or the full duration of the trip if staying less than 10 days.

If travelling to England, travellers may apply for the ‘Test to Release’ scheme to be tested on the fifth day after arrival and be relieved from self-isolation early, if the result is negative.

Those with a positive result will be required to self-isolate for another 10 days.

Further details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel

Test/medical certificate required

Proof of a negative nucleic acid test, such as a PCR, LAMP, or antigen test, taken within the previous 72 hours, must be provided on departure. This certificate must be in English, French, or Spanish.

Further information on tests such as the minimum standards accepted can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england#test-providers-and-type-of-test

Testing on arrival

Those travelling to England are required to purchase a ‘COVID Testing Package’ before departure. All travellers must be tested during isolation, on or before day 2 and on day 8 if they are not fully vaccinated as per the note above.

Travellers staying for less than 10 days are required to book the tests for day 2 and day 8 regardless of the duration of their stay. Travellers only have to take the tests if they are still in England on the test dates.

Proof of purchase for this testing package must be provided on departure.

Keep in mind:

The quarantine exemption and waiver of the test on day 8 only applies to passengers:

  •  fully vaccinated in the UK or under the UK vaccine programme overseas 
  •  under 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK
  • part of a UK-approved vaccine trial

Languages accepted: English, French and Spanish. 

Other passengers

Passengers, 11 years and older,  coming from amber countries (moderate risk), must undertake COVID-19 tests on days 2 and 8. These tests must be pre-booked as a package, with Test to Release on day 5 available as an added extra. Additionally, if the traveller wants to shorten the period of mandatory quarantine, they must pay for a private COVID-19 test on the fifth day through the ‘Test to Release’ scheme. If the Test to Release” Program is taken on day 5, the PCR test on day 8 will still need to be taken.

Passengers entering England from red countries (high risk)

Passengers, 11 years and older,  coming from red countries (high risk), must undertake COVID-19 tests on days 2 and 8. 

Keep in mind:

·       Information about providers of day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 testing for international arrivals can be found here or here.

·       The above hotel quarantine and test packages must be pre-booked on a government website prior to arrival in England.  

·       There is a  £1000 fine for anyone who fails to take the first mandatory test, £2000 fine for anyone who fails to take the second mandatory test.

Passengers in England for less than 2 days need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. Test will only be necessary if passengers are still in England on day 2.

For updated information, please check the below sources of information as well:

·       UK Government website

·       Testing strategy for international arrivals

·       Testing for people travelling to England

·       Entering the UK