New system for international travel
The UK Government has announced changes to international travel rules in England from 4am Monday 4 October
- The current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries and territories
- The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on people’s vaccination status
- Eligible fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a Pre Departure Test when travelling to England
- England will welcome fully vaccinated travellers from 17 new countries and territories. These include arrivals from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan.
From the end of October
- Eligible fully vaccinated passengers and those with an approved vaccine from a select group of non-red countries will be able to replace their day 2 test with a cheaper lateral flow test. Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, these will be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants.
- Passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey will be able to follow the measures associated with their country of departure, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey.
Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. Test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period
Travel from the rest of the world if you are fully vaccinated
From 4am Monday 4 October, if you have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days
- under an approved vaccination program in the UK, Europe, US or UK vaccine programme overseas
- with a full course of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen vaccines from a relevant public health body in Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan – mixing between two-dose vaccines (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna) in this list is also recognised.
- under a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial in the US, Canada and Australia and have a proof of participation (digital or paper-based) from a public health body.
- book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
- complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England.
- take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 after you arrive in England.
Countries removed from the red list
Quarantine guidance for HE and FE under 18’s
Guidance has been published for unaccompanied higher and further education students aged under 18 that are arriving in England and Wales from red list countries. Students may be able to quarantine in accommodation provided by their education institution or within host family accommodation. More details here
Autumn and Winter Plan for England
Health Secretary Sajid Javid set out the Autumn and Winter Plan for England. The plan sets out a Plan A scenario and outlines a Plan B contingency plan for England that would only be enacted if the data suggests that further actions are necessary to protect the NHS.
The 5 pillars outlined for Plan A include;
- Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: including maximising vaccine uptake among those who are eligible and not taken up the offer yet, offering booster doses to those who received vaccinations in phase 1 of the vaccine programme, offering a first dose to those aged 12-15. Antivirals and therapeutics are already being used, and teams are researching further drugs that may assist.
- Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: PCR testing for symptomatic and contacts of cases will be available free of charge. Regular asymptomatic testing will also continue, focused on those who are not vaccinated or are on front line settings. Contact tracing will continue. Support will remain in place for those forced to self-isolate.
- Supporting the NHS and Social Care – managing pressures and recovering services. Linked to the announcement of further funding announced last week to clear the backlog of appointments.
- Advising people on how to protect themselves and others – For businesses the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidanceon how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. They are encouraging the public to let fresh air in when meeting indoors, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed settings, getting tested and self isolating, staying home if they feel unwell, washing hands regularly and using the NHS COVID-19 app.
- Pursuing an international approach – playing a part in the global effort towards vaccination, and keeping strong defence at the border. The Government will shortly set out a revised framework for international travel, in advance of the next formal checkpoint review, with a deadline of 1 October.
If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government’s Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:
- Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
- Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
- Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
If Plan B is implemented, at that point the NHS COVID Pass will change to display full vaccination only (exemptions will continue to apply). The Government expects that mandatory vaccine-only certification would be introduced for visitors to the following venues:
- All nightclubs;
- Indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions;
- Outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals; and
- Any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.
- There are some settings that will be exempt from requirements to use the NHS COVID Pass, including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals and other commemorative events, protests and mass participation sporting events.
The Government would seek to give businesses at least one week’s notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force.
- To see the number of cases of COVID-19 in England and the UK visit the UK COVID-19 dashboard
- View the latest R Number and Growth Rate figures
- To see the number of cases globally see the World Health Organisation dashboard
Correct as of 19 September 2021