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Quarantine exemptions for travelling journalists announced

Posted on: December 4, 2020 by Ian Murray

The government has announced that journalists and TV production staff will be allowed to travel abroad without facing quarantine on their return to the UK.

The exemptions are among a number of lifted restrictions for business travellers whose work is seen as vital to the country.

In a statement, the government said: “From 4am on Saturday 5 December, individuals undertaking specific business activity which would deliver a significant benefit to the UK economy – including activity that creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs – will no longer need to self-isolate when travelling or returning from non-exempt countries.

“Individuals will only be exempt when undertaking the specific business activity and will only be able to meet with others as required by that specific activity. Further information will be available on gov.uk when these exemptions come into force.

“Exemptions will also come into force at the same time for domestic and international performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists, and recently signed elite sportspersons, ensuring that industries which require specific, high talent individuals who rely on international connections can continue to complete their work.”

The measures will also apply to journalists travelling to the UK from abroad, who are in receipt of the IFJ press card.

Further information will be available on the government website GOV.UK when the exemptions came into force.

The government had previously announced that the quarantine rules would change for all passengers on Dec. 15, in that people would have the option of taking a COVID-19 test after five days of self-isolation. If the result was negative, people would then be released from self-isolation.

The NUJ has welcomed the exemption for journalists.

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “This is welcome news for all those journalists who cross borders as part of their work, at a time when news and reporting is more important than ever. The exemption is further acknowledgement of our members’ status as key workers and reaffirms the importance of the UK Press card, of which the NUJ is the largest gatekeeper.

“It’s a particularly welcome measure for freelances who have lost work and income as a result of having to quarantine after commissions abroad. We’ve been working hard to secure this exemption and welcome the efforts made by DCMS to achieve this.”