England announces new coronavirus quarantine exemptions for 'high-value' business travellers

Passengers arrive at London's Heathrow Airport in June 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - England announced new quarantine exemptions for "high-value" business travellers, performing arts professionals, journalists and certain others, meaning that if they meet certain conditions they will not have to self-isolate on arrival in the country.

The exemptions will take effect from 4am (12 noon Singapore time) on Dec 5.

As things stand, all passengers arriving in England from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days, unless they are coming from a country included on a safe travel list available on the UK government website.

"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," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter.

"Certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met."

In a more detailed statement, the Department for Transport said that the high-value business exemption would apply to people undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the British economy. That includes activity that creates or preserves 50 or more British jobs, it said.

People will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity.

"Exemptions will also come into force at the same time for domestic and international performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons, ensuring that industries which require specific, high talent individuals who rely on international connections can continue to complete their work," the ministry said.

It said further information would be available on the government website when the exemptions came into force.

The government had previously announced that the quarantine rules would change for all passengers on Dec 15, in that people would have the option of taking a Covid-19 test after five days of self-isolation.

If the result was negative, people would then be released from self-isolation.

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