BRITAIN took its first steps to tear up quarantine rules after high flying businessmen were handed an exemption.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed business execs would be among those who don’t have to self-isolate when coming into the UK from high-Covid areas.
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Foreign CEOs visiting branches of their companies, British executives who left the UK on a business trip and investors from abroad will all be exempt from 14 day self-isolation.
Business travel is worth £7.5bn to the economy every year – around 26 per cent of the global spend.
Sports stars, performing arts professionals, Journalists and TV production staff will all be exempt from Saturday.
Mr Shapps tweeted: “New Business Traveller exemption: From 4am on Sat 5th Dec high-value business travellers will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs. Conditions apply.”
He added: “From 4am on Sat 5th Dec certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sports persons will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met.”
The DfT said sectors such as media and elite sport were also selected for exemption from quarantine as they “require specific, high-talent individuals who rely on international connections”.
It added: “PHE (Public Health England) do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”
Currently, nearly all people arriving in the UK from destinations not believed to be at low risk of coronavirus are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said: “This is a welcome first step in dismantling the quarantine system and showing that Britain is open for business again.
“There will be some big businesses that are able to take advantage of it.”
It comes after the government 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.