Nautilus reports that from Monday, February 15, all travelers arriving at England from “red list” countries in the last 10 days will be required to quarantine in a hotel, an information announced by UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock.
Nautilus notes that this decision may affect British seafarers who are returning home. Specifically, it is commented that “the government, despite intense lobbying by the industry including by Nautilus, has refused so far to countenance the exclusion of UK resident seafarers despite being among the first countries in the world to recognise seafarers as key workers and to call on others to recognise their essential role in keeping maritime supply chains moving.”
To remind, the red list of countries includes:
- Cape Verde
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
The new measures in England see that, before any travel is undertaken, an online booking is made for a quarantine package costing up to £1,750 per person, which includes the hotel, food, transport, and testing for the ten-day isolation period.
Nautilus highlights that Scotland currently exempts seafarers, and those involved in essential supply chains for goods coming into the country, from its hotel quarantine requirements.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson explained that
… the government had not followed its own policy of recognizing the essential role that seafarers play in keeping supply chains open. Quite how the UK expects other countries to respect our seafarers as key workers is beyond me.
Mr. Dickinson added that if the principle that seafarers are exempt from Covid-19 measures because they work in an essential service and because they work on ships, do not mingle with the general populations of high risk countries, and only travel under strict health and safety protocols to mitigate the health risks, I fear for what lies ahead. If more and more countries are added to the red list, the jobs and livelihoods of my members are at risk.
We already know the Covid-19 financial support that the government provides does not extend to the majority of British seafarers. So much for being key workers …Seafarer’s must not be left to carry the can for additional Covid measures, including the costs of any hotel quarantine. Their employers will have to pay, and no leave should be sacrificed either.
Nautilus concludes that those out of the UK and due to return after 15 February should first contact their employer for assistance.