DCMS Sports People Travelling during the Pandemic
Please see below for a message from the DCMS about the latest international travel update for elite sport:
There have been a number of announcements recently and over the last week in relation to international travel restrictions, and the rules for self-isolation.
This is just to summarise the changes and provide updated links to the relevant guidance.
- As a reminder, under the current lockdown rules, you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
- If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the country, as the situation can change rapidly.
- Travel (incl. international travel) for elite sport training and competition can therefore be allowed under the above work provision (you will also note in the lockdown rules link above the exemptions in relation to elite sports persons meeting in larger groups, and staying overnight away from home). We suggest it would be helpful to ensure quarantine exemption letters (stipulated in our Stage 4 guidance) from National Governing Bodies are kept on the person of the elite sport traveller, in case of challenge by Border Force or airline carriers.
- From 4am 15 January all inbound travellers to the UK must have a negative pre-departure Covid test, taken in the 3 days before departure to the UK. For short turnaround visits (e.g. for football matches or other one day events abroad), note that tests taken in the UK ahead of a return journey of less than 3 days must be through a private provider (you cannot use an NHS Test and Trace test). Guidance here.
- From 4am today Monday 18 January, all the existing Travel Corridors have been suspended – so whichever country a UK traveller is returning from, they will have to self-isolate for 10 days on return (unless they qualify for a job exemption, such as elite sport), or use the Test to Release scheme for early release from self-isolation after 5 days.
- From 4am today Monday 18 January a number of job exemptions from the requirement to self-isolate have been suspended, incl. for e.g. journalists. However, I am pleased to confirm that the exemptions for elite sport are still in place.
- You may also be aware that since 24 December extra restrictions on travel have been in place for South Africa; from 9 January for wider Southern African countries and Seychelles / Mauritius; and from 4am Fri 15 January travel restrictions have been extended to South American countries and Portugal.
- A ban on direct flights from those countries is now in place. Passengers who have been in or transited through those countries in the last 10 days are no longer granted access to the UK.
- This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK, who are able to enter the UK after being in those countries within the last 10 days (e.g. via indirect flights) but are required to self-isolate on arrival for a full 10 days along with their household. Test to release after 5 days is not permitted in these cases, and job exemptions are also suspended in these cases (i.e. the elite sport exemption to self-isolation does not apply).
- For relevant travellers who have not been in those countries in the last 10 days, the elite sport exemption to the requirement to self-isolate can apply as normal (within the usual terms of our Stage 4 guidance).
I hope the above is clear. Please contact myself or Amy Pendleton in the sport team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any queries.