UK travel quarantine: Business travellers and journalists exempt from England restrictions

Qin Xie
Business travellers will be exempt from quarantine under certain rules (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Business travellers will be exempt from quarantine under certain rules (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Business travellers, journalists and elite sports personalities will be among those exempt from the government’s 14-day quarantine restrictions from 5 December.

At the moment, anyone returning from a destination that’s not on the government’s travel corridors list is subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation.

Even those transiting through a country that’s not on the travel corridors list will be subject to quarantine.

Travellers can shorten this to five days under the test to release system by paying for a private test on day five, provided it returns a negative result.

However, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed on Twitter that certain individuals will be exempt from all quarantine restrictions on arrival in England.

While announcing this week’s travel corridor changes, he tweeted: “New Business Traveller exemption: From 4am on Sat 5th Dec high-value business travellers will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs. Conditions apply.

“From 4am on Sat 5th Dec certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspersons will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met – guidance will be available on gov.uk soon.”

It’s not clear whether this rule might be extended to other parts of the UK, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own travel restrictions.

A number of jobs are already exempt from quarantine however, including pilots and cabin crew, seasonal agricultural workers, postal workers and certain drivers.

Mr Shapps also confirmed that there would be no additions or removals from the travel corridors list this week.

It comes as England just ended its month-long lockdown where all leisure travel was banned.

England is now operating under a three-tier system where travel restrictions vary according to which area of the country you live in.

While all three tiers are permitted to travel abroad, those living in tier 3 areas are not allowed to travel domestically for holidays.

There has been growing frustration with the travel corridors list in recent weeks.

While new destinations continue to be added each week, many are not accessible to those living in the UK via direct flights. A stopover or change of flights elsewhere would invariably trigger a need to self-isolate on return.

In addition, most of Africa remains off the travel corridors list, despite many nations on the continent having far lower infection rates than in the UK.

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