British Forces Brunei Headquarters COVID-19 Update - 29th May
Mandatory 14 Day Self-Isolation For All Travellers Entering The UK
Coronavirus FAQs on Border Restrictions
Coronavirus FAQs on Border Restrictions
Published 22 May 2020
What are the new border restrictions?
The measures include: mandatory requirements for all arrivals to the UK to self-isolate in suitable accommodation for 14 days (or until departing the UK) and mandatory requirements to provide their contact details in the UK to support contact tracing. These measures are expected to come into effect on 8 June. Further details can be seen at the .gov.uk website [www.gov.uk/uk-border-control].
What does this mean for Defence activity and its personnel?
Alongside the rest of Government, it is important that Defence supports these efforts and the default position will be that these policies will be followed. Senior leaders will be considering the impact of these measures upon defence activities and considering mitigations where appropriate. There are a limited number of exemptions for Defence and these will only be applied in exceptional circumstances, e.g. where there would be a clear impact to critical defence activity. There are wider exemptions which may also be relevant to Defence personnel including exemptions relating to compassionate return or medical reasons.
Further internal guidance to senior leaders will follow shortly.
What are critical Defence activities? Does this mean there are exemptions for Defence?
The default position will be that the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK will apply to all Defence personnel and activities. However, there is a provision in the legislation for personnel to be exempted where it is deemed that the individual is crucial to delivering essential Defence activity. The judgement as to whether the activity is essential, and the individual can be exempted will be made by senior MOD personnel who will be required to report the exemption to the centre.
What does this mean for the families of those serving overseas?
There are exemptions in the legislation which might concern individuals returning to the UK for compassionate or medical reasons. It is also possible for the self-isolation to be carried out a family home, so it is possible to return home to visit family. In such circumstances the traveller will need to stay at home, though others in the household can continue going about their normal day-to-day
Further guidance will be available on the .gov.uk website [www.gov.uk/uk-border-control]
What about the children of families serving overseas returning to the UK for school?
Children are not exempt from the requirements to self-isolate or provide data, though it will be possible for parents to accompany children for the journey to the UK and then return overseas without themselves having to self-isolate. We are consulting closely with the Department for Education, devolved equivalents, other government departments and key stakeholders with regard to the new UK border measures and how they will impact upon the children of overseas based Serving personnel
who attend UK boarding schools.
Why are Defence personnel exempt from these requirements?
The requirement to deliver essential Defence activities has not gone away during the pandemic. In many cases, particularly where we have personnel with niche skills or capabilities, it would not be possible to continue delivering key tasks if the requirements were implemented each time they return to the UK. The threshold for making this decision will be set high and the default position is that personnel will abide by the requirements. In making a decision to exempt an individual from the requirements of the legislation, senior commanders and managers will give consideration to other
mitigations which should be implemented in order to safeguard public health.
What about contractors or Visiting Forces?
As for Defence personnel, the default position is that contractors and Visiting Forces will abide by the requirements set out in the legislation. However, the legal exemptions may apply where the individual is on operations supporting critical Defence activity. The use of an exemption will remain subject to senior level approval.
Will I be required to use annual leave for the mandatory 14 days isolation?
Where possible, individuals returning to the UK who are required to enter 14 days self-isolation should work from home. If this is not possible due to the nature of your work, and you are returning to the UK following travel required as part of your employment for Defence, you should not be penalised financially or in terms of leave.
What if I am required to return to work within the 14 days of returning to the UK?
This will be a key factor taken into consideration when deciding whether an individual should be granted use of the exemption. There will be instances where an individual is required to undertake an activity which is critical to Defence outputs, and this activity cannot be delayed by 14 days. Therefore, they may fall in scope of the exemption. In other cases, it may be agreed that whilst an individual is required to return to work, this is not essential nor immediately required. They would then be required
to self-isolate for 14 days.