New temporary Covid-19 measures affecting international arrivals and students
30 November 2021

New temporary Covid-19 measures affecting international arrivals and students

New temporary and precautionary measures have been confirmed following the emergence of the Omicron variant. 

Commenting on the new travel restrictions our Chief Executive Jodie Gray said:

'While we understand this is a rapidly evolving situation and public health must come first, the decision to require all arrivals to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative result is returned is a blow for UK English language teaching centres and the wider educational travel sector, which was just beginning to welcome international students once more.

These new restrictions add further barriers to recovery and it is vital that the government keeps the restrictions under regular review and urgently looks at providing emergency tailored support for educational travel businesses, should restrictions stay in place.'

New measures

The following measures were introduced on Tuesday 30 November as a precaution to slow down the spread of the variant. They will be reviewed by the government in three weeks time.

  • All travellers arriving into the UK must take a PCR test provided by a private test provider on or before day 2 and self-isolate in their accommodation until they receive a negative result (lateral flow tests will no longer be accepted). This new measure applies adults and 5-17 year olds. It is worth noting that it is possible to arrange to have a PCR test on arrival at the airport and pay for an express service with a test result by 22:00 the following day.
  • All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. They will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Face coverings will be compulsory in England in shops and other settings such as banks and post offices, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt. This brings guidance for face coverings in England in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • The Department for Education updated its guidance today, Monday 29 November, strongly advising that face coverings should be worn in communal areas in all educational settings by staff, visitors and pupils/ students in year 7 and above unless they are exempt.
  • All educational and childcare settings should continue to encourage staff and students to test twice weekly using lateral flow device tests.

Updated travel guidance

Updates to the UK's red list

By the end of Sunday 28 November 10 countries had been added to the UK's red list of countries and territories:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

People cannot travel to the UK if they have been in these countries in the last 10 days, unless they are a British or Irish national or have residence rights in the UK. Passengers arriving in England from a red list country must book a managed quarantine package, which includes hotel quarantine and day 2 and day 8 PCR testing.



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