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Researchers among those exempt from Covid-19 travel restrictions

Staff involved in clinical trials and specialist aerospace engineers are exempt from the new rules

Staff involved in clinical trials are among a number of categories of workers related to research and engineering who are exempt from the latest coronavirus travel restrictions in the UK.

Under the new rules, which came into force on 8 June, anyone arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train—including UK nationals—will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Failure to provide an address could result in a £100 fine, and failure to self-isolate in a £1,000 fine.

However, the rules do not apply to a large number of research-related professions, including “qualified persons and responsible persons for human and veterinary medicines, clinical trials, clinical investigations and pharmacovigilance,” according to guidance published by the government on 7 June.

The exemption also applies to “sponsors and essential persons” needed for clinical trials or studies, as well as quality assurance inspectors for human and veterinary medicines and workers with specialist technical skills required for “essential or emergency works”.

Specialist aerospace engineers, inspectors for international nuclear safeguards and chemical industry, and nuclear emergency responders are also included on the list.

The exempt workers will generally need to provide their personal details, contact details for their employer and declare what work they’ll be doing.

The government has yet to provide an evidence base for the measure, with chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance commenting recently that the rules make sense for passengers coming from countries with high numbers of cases into a country with low number of cases. However, he has repeatedly said that the cases in the UK are not yet low.