BDSUS CORONAVIRUS 19 (COVID-19) UPDATE
BDSUS CORONAVIRUS 19 (COVID-19) UPDATE – 26 AUG 21
Updates are published periodically via email, chain of command, on www.bdsus.info and Defence Connect (BDSUS Diaspora Info Portal).
This Update. International travel continues to open up between the UK and US, and recently announced measures in this update will broaden access to wider family and reduce isolation requirements for the vaccinated. That said, infection rates arising from new variants does still mean there is real risk of infection, even if vaccinated, with a handful of MOD instances of vaccinated travellers being held back to isolate for 10 days prior to return travel (under convalescence regulations). Continue to use protection measures when travelling (still compulsory for many airports and airlines) and prepare for isolation contingencies. Stay safe.
US Department of Defense Mandatory Vaccination. The US Dept of Defense has now set 22 Nov 21 as the date from which all DoD US active duty Armed Forces personnel, civilian and contractors are to be vaccinated with FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines or being exempt for an authorised reason (ie medical). Those vaccinated under emergency usage or WHO approval are also considered vaccinated.
While UK MOD personnel serving within US DoD installations are not considered to be in scope you will need to show you are vaccinated or declare weekly negative tests and access may become more difficult as 22 Nov 21 approaches. Our advice continues to be that approved vaccines are considered the safer option for all staff and encourage all to receive it if able. BDSUS is engaging with MOD Head Office on the issue of mandated vaccination. Where, for local risk, operational or other reasons, UK MOD personnel are prevented from accessing workplaces on US DoD installations, this should be brought to the attention of the relevant Attaché staff in the first instance.
Visits from the UK must continue to receive Hd BDSUS/Defence Attaché approval, which will usually be conditional on being fully vaccinated unless other overriding personal or operational reasons are accepted.
Proof of Vaccination. Defence personnel can prove their vaccination status via the NHS COVID Pass or their CDC vaccination card.
- NHS App. Details of how Defence personnel can obtain an NHS Covid Pass Certificate for travel and other events using the NHS Online service. Advice can be found here: http://www.bdsus.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/How-to-get-your-Vaccine-Certificate-for-Defence-Patients.pdf. More details on logging vaccinations and accessing the NHS certificate can be found in the 19 Jul 21 COVID Update.
- CDC Vaccination Card. As proof of an approved USA vaccination programme you will need to show a CDC card showing you’ve had a full course of an FDA-approved vaccine in the USA. You should have received this when you were vaccinated. You’ll also need to show your visa as proof of residency.
Travel to UK if Vaccinated. From 4 Oct 21, the pre-flight test requirement has been removed for those travellers who are fully vaccinated and not required to quarantine/ self-isolate at home. Therefore, travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or are under-18, are able to travel to the UK without having to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival. The Day 2 PCR test after arrival back in the UK is still required and can be booked thru MOD at https://quarantinehotelbookings.ctmportal.co.uk/ or other commercial providers (such as Boots Chemists).
The USA now comes under “Rest of World” for the purpose of entry to the UK. All travellers will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF), as before at https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk, and will need to declare their vaccination status (and tests if unvaccinated) prior to departure and provide proof to airline officials before they travel. If you have visited a Red List country within 14 days of travel to the UK you will need to declare this and act in accordance with UK instructions.
Travel to UK if Not Vaccinated. Those personnel who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to test pre-flight, self-isolate for 10 days (unless they use the Test to Release scheme) and be tested on day 2 and day 8 after arriving from a non-Red List country, unless they have a valid exemption.
Exemptions. Exemptions are still valid for some travellers, particularly if convalescent or unable to vaccinate (with a valid travel reason). If you require an exemption you must contact BDSUS J1 at least 10 days ahead of intended travel.
Travel to US. The US has announced that travel from UK to the US will be opened from early November (date tbc) to tourist travel (ie ESTA) which will allow visits by wider family from the UK. As at the date of this update the US State Department has not yet amended online guidance so you will need to keep alert to future announcements and any travel requirements. CDC still requires that all travellers provide a negative pre-flight test before embarking for the US.
Defence Advice Notice 18 (Version 7.5). The latest version (7.5) of DAN 18 – UK COVID Travel Policy – was issued on 30 Sep 21. A declassified version has been uploaded to the BDSUS Diaspora Portal on Defence Connect at https://jive.defencegateway.mod.uk/docs/DOC-647354. The key changes relate to removal of pre-flight testing for vaccinated travellers to UK.