Freight News, Logistics, Road

No quarantine, but tests every two days for truckers

[ March 29, 2021   //   ]

The UK government has set out new details of the new Covid testing regime that will apply to international arrivals in England from 6 April, including truck drivers.

They will be one of a limited number of professions that will be exempt from quarantining in order to keep freight and other crucial industries moving freely.

From 6 April, all hauliers staying in the country for longer than two days will be required to take a lateral flow test before the end of day two. Hauliers remaining in the country will then be required to take a further test every three days – typically on days five and eight.

Hauliers will be able to access testing at government information and advice sites – which provide hauliers with free coronavirus tests – or use workplace or community testing centres.

New legal requirements to limit contact between the community and international hauliers will also be introduced. All hauliers arriving in the country will now be required to self-isolate in their cabs during their time in England, leaving only for specific reasons such as to buy food, use a toilet or undertake limited exercise, or get a Covid-19 test, among others.

These requirements will apply for ten days after arrival. Hauliers found not to be complying with the requirements could face fines of up to £1,000.

Hauliers that test positive at any point throughout their journey in England, and that cannot secure a safe environment in which to self-isolate, will immediately be re-directed to self-isolate in hotel accommodation set up by the Government at a number of locations in the country. If they are able to safely self-isolate at home or with family or friends in the UK, they are expected to do so.

Hauliers will be subject to regular monitoring on arrival in England.

The government says it is confident new inbound testing requirements for hauliers will not impact trade, saying that the successful roll out of the outbound testing regime did not markedly impact on trade flows.

The testing requirements will apply equally to UK-resident hauliers returning from abroad, who will in addition be able to make use of home testing kits or workplace testing facilities to satisfy the new requirements.

Hauliers will also continue to need to provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test result before travelling from England to the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark. (A similar requirement for hauliers travelling to France was recently removed.) They will be able to use evidence of the same negative test result to satisfy both the new UK requirement for regular testing and the pre-departure requirements of other countries.

Other groups of workers exempt from quarantine include border security officials, aircraft crew, Channel tunnel system workers, international rail crew and seafarers.

BIFA director-general Robert Keen commented: “BIFA members are pinning their hopes that the bespoke Covid testing regime lives up to its billing and is made-to-measure, not off-the-peg. Creating more uncertainty will be of no use to anyone involved in managing the UK’s visible international trade.”

Logistics UK European policy manager Sarah Laouadi, added: “It is vitally important to protect the UK and its highly interconnected supply chain from the threat of new Covid19 variants, and the nation as a whole. However, it is worth remembering that drivers are, by the nature of their jobs and thanks to contactless delivery procedures, a very low risk category – as has been borne out by the testing carried out on drivers since the start of the pandemic where only 0.1% of them have tested positive for Covid-19.  Any testing regime must be proportionate and not discriminate against those who are tasked with keeping British businesses and consumers stocked with the goods and services they need.”

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