FAQs for staff travelling abroad, in the UK and Quarantining on return

Should I continue to book overseas travel?

The FCO continues to advice against non-essential international travel, except to exempt countries. However, the situation is changing at relatively short notice with respect to the exempt countries. Please check regularly before you travel to make sure the status of an exempt country has not changed and also that the circumstances in that country itself has not changed. Please continue to seek advice and approval from your Head of Department before travelling.

COVID-19 may have had an impact on local public health overseas, so it is advised that you stay aware of other travel-related infectious diseases. Specifically, take care to stay up-to-date with travel health recommendations (including immunisations) relevant to destinations. If you are considered to be vulnerable to COVID-19 then you should be aware that if you are infected with COVID-19 that you may be at increased risk of severe infection.

Will I be covered by travel insurance if I travel to a non-exempt country?

If you travel to a non-exempt country you will not have full insurance cover protection so please do not book overseas travel to that country unless they are added to the exempt government list.

Furthermore, if a trip is booked while the FCO advice remains “against all but essential travel” and was not on the exempt list, then there is no insurance cover if the decision is made to cancel or curtail the trip. Under these circumstances, there is also no cover for Political/Natural Disaster and Evacuation as well as Crisis Management.

If I book travel to an exempt country and the government revokes this exemption before I travel

If I book travel to an exempt country and the government revokes this exemption before I travel will I be able to cancel the booking and make an insurance claim to recover the costs?

Yes. The insurance policy will cover you in these circumstances where the government has announced a change before you travel. However, the insurance provider will expect the College to use its best endeavours to recover the costs from airlines and other travel providers before settling any claim.

Is the insurance cover affected if I travel to an exempt country and the exempt status changes?

The cover is unaffected providing there are no changes to your travel arrangements. If you are abroad and decide to return early to the UK or your Country of Residence, then the insurance policy would only consider the pre-booked return flight cost.  If a new ticket is purchased to return to the UK early, then claims will only be considered by insurers for the additional expenses incurred if there is evidence that efforts were made with the Airline to try and move the original booking. 

Will medical insurance cover be in place if I fall ill when travelling overseas?

The policy will continue to cover emergency medical expenses incurred including those resulting from COVID-19, regardless of FCO guidance.

If a traveller contracts COVID-19, cover is in place to respond to Medical Expenses that were reasonably incurred during a journey outside an Insured Person’s Country of Domicile. If a traveller feels unwell during a trip, they should contact Healix on +44 (0)208 608 4100.

Further guidance from Healix can be found on the following link:

https://healix.com/sharing-knowledge-and-news/covid-19-advice/?utm_content=121370933&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&hss_channel=lcp-5085793

What should I do before I return to the UK from overseas?

Please follow the latest government requirements and advice when entering the UK following a trip from abroad. If you make any stopovers or interchanges the requirements for those apply in addition, even if you don’t leave the airport or rail station.

At present you must complete a government form online before you arrive in the UK from any country. This includes if you’re travelling from a country or territory where you do not have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK. You must complete this form even if you’ve already completed a different form to enter another country. Please bear in mind you may also need to consider the regulations within the country you are leaving or if there are any other special considerations such as local restrictions at a stop-over destination on your journey home.

If you do not complete the form before you arrive in the UK, it might take you longer to enter the UK.

You cannot submit the form until 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK.

This is a free service. You do not need to pay another website or business to provide your contact details for you.

You must complete the form online. Do not print out the form and fill it in by hand.

When you arrive at the UK border you’ll need to show either:

  • a printed copy of your confirmation email
  • the confirmation email on your phone

The government will use this information to contact you if you or someone you’ve travelled with develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

If you need to self-isolate for the first 14 days after you arrive in the UK, the government will also use the information to check that you’re self-isolating.

 

What is the College policy when staff return from a trip overseas?

Currently, the guidance sets out that all those who can work from home should continue to do so.  As such, it is expected that the majority of staff who need to self-isolate after returning to the UK from abroad will be able to resume working from home following their trip or in the case of personal travel when finishing their annual leave.

1. Staff who are required to be physically present at a College location to undertake their role will need to be aware of the following guidelines set out by the College in relation to self-isolation after travel outside the UK.Staff who decide to travel to a country where, at the point of booking their trip requires them to self-isolate on return to the UK, and as such prevents them from being able to attend work at a College location, should ensure that they request enough annual leave to cover the period of self-isolation on return.  This will need to be considered and approved by the line manager in the usual way.  Alternatively, with their manager’s approval, staff may take this time as unpaid leave. 

  

 2. If government guidance changes after a member of staff has booked their travel abroad, but before they have travelled, and requires them to self-isolate on return to the UK, staff will need to inform their line manager as soon as possible.  In this situation, if staff intend to continue with their travel, they will be required to request the additional time for self-isolation as annual leave.  Alternatively, with their manager’s approval, staff may take this time as unpaid leave. 

 3. If a member of staff is already abroad and government guidance changes to require a period of self-isolation on their return to the UK, they should inform their line manager at the earliest opportunity.  This time may exceptionally be considered as ‘isolation leave’ and no pay will be deducted.  This can only happen once in any given leave year.

 4. Please be aware that negative COVID-19 tests, whoever they are carried out by, do not shorten your obligation to self-isolate (if Government guidance has stated that you must self isolate for 14 days following travel from a non-exempt country.

Will the insurance cover any costs associated with quarantine and/or self-isolation?

No. The travel insurance policy does not provide cover for self-isolation or quarantine and is intended to assist with returning to the UK or Country of Residence. Please make you have fully considered self-isolation in the UK and abroad when undertaking your pre-travel risk assessment and discuss this fully with your Head of Department before making a decision to travel.

If it is deemed medically necessary (by Healix or a medical practitioner) to self-isolate and additional costs are incurred, our insurer will review and consider the claim. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

What about travel in the UK and restrictions if a local outbreak of COVID-19 occurs?

The government is now able to better identify outbreaks at an early stage and take steps to ensure appropriate local intervention. Local outbreaks are identified and managed through continuous monitoring of the available data and different approaches are required according to local circumstances.

If a local outbreak arises when you are travelling in the UK and/or where you are residing the local authority may advise additional testing measures to manage the outbreak. Local authorities also have a range of other powers including restrictions on your movement until the outbreak is under control and these stricter controls will have to be followed.

If you are living or travelling in an area in the UK where a local lockdown applies and this impacts on your ability to work or study then please contact your line manager/tutor at the earliest opportunity.

If staff live in an area of the UK where a local lockdown is applied, it is expected that they continue to work from home where possible.  If homeworking is not possible and the local lockdown restrictions are such that they do not permit travel out of the area for work, no pay will be deducted.  Staff will be expected to resume work as soon as the restrictions allow.  For students you will be advised of other options available to you by your department whilst the local lockdown remains in place.