On Friday 3 July, the government released a full list of countries from which travellers do not need to quarantine for 14 days upon re-entry into England.
Currently, individuals returning from any country need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days in order to protect against them potentially spreading the coronavirus when brought from overseas. This long-expected list, which is available on the government website, outlines that from 10 July some countries will be exempted from this provision. This means that, provided they are showing no symptoms of COVID-19, anyone returning from an overseas trip will technically be able to return to work straight away.
The list currently specifies over 40 countries across the globe, including European destinations such as France, Germany and Italy alongside more distant places like Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The 14 British Overseas Territories are also exempt, as are the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. This exemption is in place provided they have not travelled to any country not listed on their journey.
This news is likely to be very well received by both organisations and their employees, with people able to book holidays without the potential for having to self-isolate on their return to England. That said, this does not remove the danger of self-isolation completely; individuals will need to complete a passenger locator form before their arrival, so they can be traced if it is believed they have been exposed to the virus. Furthermore, the government are also clear that travellers should check if they will need to self-isolate at their destination prior to making travel plans.
The knock-on effect of this development is that employees are therefore likely to feel more encouraged to take their leave before the end of this leave year and, as a result, organisations should prepare for an increase in requests. Staff should be reminded of the usual policy for requesting annual leave and it is advisable that a first come, first served approach is adopted.
It should also be remembered that this list could be subject to change as the coronavirus situation develops. With this in mind, organisations should keep up to date with all developments as they come.