Drivers to take COVID tests on entry to UK under new rules

News

From April 6, all commercial vehicle drivers entering Great Britain from continental EU (not Ireland) will have to take COVID tests if they stay in GB for more than 48 hours, according to new rules from the government.

The first of the COVID tests is to be taken within 48 hours of arrival.

Drivers arriving from the EU to make deliveries should only leave the cab for essential purposes. This can include eating and using washing facilities.

Drivers will need to wear face coverings indoors, unless exempt. They will also need to use hand sanitiser each time they enter or exit the cab.

Testing

  • COVID tests will be available for free at over 40 Government Haulier Advice sites – detail of the sites and hours of operation is available here.
  • Fines for failing to comply with testing rules are expected to be £2000.
  • In addition to the rules on testing, commercial vehicle drivers entering the UK will have to follow government rules on social distancing.
  • All drivers arriving in GB from continental Europe will be required to correctly complete passenger locator forms to facilitate contact while in the UK.

Expected rules on COVID tests for lorry drivers bringing goods into GB

  • Commercial vehicle drivers entering GB then leaving in under 48 hours – no test required.
  • Broadly, drivers staying beyond 48 hours will need a COVID test within the 48 hours of arrival. If still in GB, a second test within five days of arrival is required. If in GB beyond day five, a third test within eight days of arrival is required. The maximum time between COVID tests 1 & 2 and test 2 & 3 is 72 hours.
  • These rules apply to UK and non-UK nationals and regardless of who is worked for.

Other rules, what to do while in GB

  • All drivers will need to follow locally applicable COVID restrictions and advice.
  • The current UK government guidance is available here.

Chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), Richard Burnett, said: “The UK vaccination scheme is most definitely working, but we cannot let our safety regimes and procedures slip.

“This latest legislation will apply to ALL commercial drivers, whether they are returning from, or originating from the EU.  It’s a completely fair system and will keep the GB and the EU member states protected as we all embark upon the road to recovery.”

Sarah Laouadi, European policy manager at Logistics UK (formerly FTA), said it is “vitally important to protect the UK and its highly interconnected supply chain” from the threat of new COVID-19 variants, and the nation as a whole.

“Rapid testing of drivers on arrival in the UK will provide additional confidence that businesses can be supplied safely,” Laouadi said.

“However, it is worth remembering that drivers are, by the nature of their jobs and thanks to contactless delivery procedures, a very low risk category – as has been borne out by the testing carried out on drivers since the start of the pandemic where only 0.1 per cent of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Any testing regime must be proportionate and not discriminate against those who are tasked with keeping British businesses and consumers stocked with the goods and services they need.

“We would urge the government to maintain a watching brief on the testing regime to ensure it remains appropriate and reacts to the situation on the ground,” she concluded.

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