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News on UK Self-Isolation Waiver

UK’s COVID-19 quarantine policy for inbound travelers

The UK categorizes the countries of origin of foreigners who want to enter their country into red, amber, and green in order of decreasing the risk of COVID-19. Countries with high COVID-19 vaccination rates and adequate control over COVID-19 are classified as green countries, countries below that level are classified as amber countries, and countries with very high risk are classified as red countries.

Unfortunately, South Korea has so far been classified as an amber country, not a green country. Therefore, those wishing to enter the UK from the Republic of Korea must prepare a negative COVID-19 test result in the Republic of Korea within 72 hours immediately before entering the UK. In addition, those who have entered the UK must self-isolate for 10 days and undergo a COVID-19 test on the 2nd and 8th days of self-isolation.

On September 18th, a very important announcement was made by the UK Ministry of Health. The UK Ministry of Health has decided to manage amber and green countries in an integrated way, and manage only red countries separately from October 4th. As a result, South Korea is subject to the same standards as the existing green countries.

UK travelers from green countries are required to prepare a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to entry into the UK and undergo a COVID-19 test on the second day of entry. And those entering the UK will only have to self-quarantine until they get a negative test result on the second day. Separately, the UK is exempting from self-quarantine when entering the UK for 14 days after completing vaccinations for AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen in the UK, Europe, and the US.

Conditions for exemption from self-quarantine for UK arrivals

Here are some of the highlights of this UK Health Ministry announcement: Individuals who have been vaccinated against AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, etc. (including cross-vaccination with AstraZeneca/Pfizer/Modena) and 14 days have passed will be exempt from self-quarantine when entering the UK from October 4th. In addition, the pre-entry inspection and the 8th day inspection are also exempted from the previously required COVID-19 tests within 72 hours before entry, on the 2nd day and on the 8th day after entry. To summarize this:

After October 4, 2021, if 14 days have elapsed since the completion of vaccination for persons traveling from South Korea to the UK, the following exemptions are available:

  • Negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to entering the UK
  • Self-quarantine for 10 days after entering the UK
  • Corona 19 test on the 8th day after entering the UK

However, after October 4, 2021, the following will remain the same:

  • Fill out the Passenger Locator Form within 48 hours prior to entering the UK
  • 2nd day Corona 19 test after entering the UK

Meanwhile, in addition to South Korea, travelers from Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Taiwan will also travel 14 days after completing the COVID-19 vaccination. Self-quarantine will be waived upon expiration.

The real scene of COVID-19 vaccination in the UK

Various evaluations of these changes in the UK’s quarantine policy will be possible. But what they are aiming for seems clear. It is a return to normal with active vaccination. In fact, the UK is already preparing for the recovery of daily life as the completion rate of COVID-19 vaccination has exceeded 70%.

When I came to London, it wasn’t just the people taking off their masks and enjoying their freedom in every park that surprised me. Rather, I was shocked to see that a vaccine bus came to one side of the park and the medical staff were inoculating people with the vaccine. It was also using the Pfizer vaccine, which was difficult to manage, not another vaccine. The photo below was taken by myself, asking the medical staff of the vaccine bus to show it to the COVID-19 quarantine authorities in Korea.

As I left Korea, I told my close friends and co-workers to come and play when the COVID-19 situation improves soon. However, in reality, there were difficult parts such as self-quarantine, so I felt a lot of regret. But now there is hope that it will not be impossible. If you have any further questions, please leave your inquiry in the comments. I will answer to the best of my knowledge.

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