Britain eases Covid-19 travel rules for COP26 climate conference

Organisers are strongly encouraging all attendees to be vaccinated against coronavirus. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Britain has relaxed Covid-19-related travel restrictions for people attending the international climate conference in Glasgow that is now less than six weeks away.

Minister-level officials from so-called red list countries, along with two staff, will not be required to spend time in quarantine when they arrive for the COP26 conference, according to updated travel requirements.

That is a change from an earlier stance that required visitors from the high risk, red-list countries to spend five days in isolation.

World leaders, executives and climate activists are expected to attend COP26 to hammer out plans to curb carbon emissions. With new reports showing the planet on track to warm by 2.7 deg C by the end of the century, the event is seen as a critical effort to head off catastrophic climate change.

The revised rules are aimed at facilitating attendance after the earlier policy spurred complaints that the quarantine requirement would prevent some people from travelling to Scotland, especially those from poorer nations.

The new quarantine policy applies to minister-level heads of departments who are also part of the national party delegations. The two staff must also be part of the delegations.

"The UK and Scottish governments have put in place special arrangements for COP26, recognising this is a unique event that must be fully inclusive to achieve the climate outcomes urgently needed," according to the revised rules.

A British government spokesman said the rules regarding quarantine exemptions are consistent with existing exemptions for foreign ministers visiting the country on official business and have been in place for some time.

Organisers are strongly encouraging all attendees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, and while they are recommending people use vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, they will recognise all vaccines.

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