38.Three instruments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Pre-Departure Testing and Operator Liability) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/38), the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/47), and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/49) are drawn to the special attention of the House in this report (see pages 7 to 10 above).
39.Based on assessments from the Joint Biosecurity Centre, these Regulations amend the International Travel Regulations to remove Botswana, Israel, Jerusalem, Mauritius and the Seychelles from the list of exempt countries and territories. Passengers who arrived in England after 9 January from these places are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
40.In addition, to prevent the spread of the South African variant of COVID-19, these Regulations implement enhanced measures for passengers to England from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The changes cancel all exemptions from the requirement to self-isolate or to complete a Passenger Locator Form, exclude arrivals from these countries from the “Test to Release” regime and require anyone residing with them to self-isolate too.
41.The poultry processing workers exemption has also been removed following the end of the seasonal period, and the list of specified competitions at Schedule 3 has been updated.
42.These Regulations amend the International Travel Regulations to remove the United Arab Emirates from the list of exempt countries. Passengers arriving in England from there, on or after 12 January, will be required to self-isolate.
43.This instrument extends until 30 September 2021 the period during which revised constitutional and procedural rules apply to school admissions appeals. The revised rules were introduced by an earlier instrument last year and were due to expire on 31 January. The extension is to allow admission appeals to continue to be conducted effectively during the pandemic, when measures such as social distancing and self-isolation are making it difficult for people to meet in person and to secure enough panel members for appeal hearings. The instrument allows, in some circumstances, appeal panels to consider appeals as a panel of two (rather than three) and hearings to be held remotely on the basis of written submissions (rather than in person). It also provides more flexibility in relation to the deadlines for the determination of appeals.
44.The Department for Education (DfE) says that feedback on the measures has been overwhelmingly positive to date, and that according to a survey of local authorities, around 7,000 appeals have been heard under the temporary arrangements. The survey also showed unanimous support for an extension of the measures in order to ensure that appeals can continue to be held on time. DfE says that the new expiry date of 30 September should allow sufficient time to deal with the next annual peak in appeals in relation to children starting new schools at the beginning of the academic year 2021/22.
45.The National Health Service (Performers Lists) (England) Regulations 2013 require any GP offering primary care in an NHS setting to be registered on the medical performers list. These Regulations disapply that requirement from those who are administering a COVID-19 vaccine or any primary medical service ancillary to the administration of such a vaccine. To enable the recruitment of an expanded workforce to roll out of the vaccination programme, this amendment allows a wider range of medical practitioners and former medical practitioners to deliver the vaccines. The Department for Health and Social Care states that the Regulations will be revoked at the end of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, which began on 8 December 2020 and shall continue until 31 August 2021 but may be terminated early or extended depending on circumstances.
46.Regulations were put in place during the first lockdown to prevent evictions except in the case of trespass. That regime ended on 20 September 2020 and new provisions allowed evictions to go ahead but required landlords to give their tenants six months’ notice. In November 2020 the ban on evictions was reinstated until 11 January 2021 but because of the tighter lockdown restrictions implemented on 6 January these Regulations extend those restrictions until 21 February 2021. Evictions may only take place where there is no risk to public health and the court is satisfied that the claim is against trespassers, the house is unoccupied, or on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, domestic abuse in social tenancies, false statements, or substantial rent arrears exceeding six months’ rent.
47.These made affirmative Regulations were laid on 5 January and approved by the House of Lords, following a debate, on 7 January. We considered them at a meeting on 12 January. Shortly after we had completed our consideration, we received a submission from Dr Caroline Kamau of Birkbeck, University of London, about the Regulations. While it is our usual practice to publish submissions, we would not usually publish one that was submitted after the Committee’s consideration. On this occasion we have departed from this practice because of the exceptionally fast proceedings relating to the instrument and because of the continuing debate on the pandemic. The submission is published on our website. For the avoidance of doubt, we should state that the views contained in the submission are those of Dr Kamau and not of the Committee.
18 Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 ().
19 School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 ().
20 , (Session 2019–21, HL Paper 210).
21 Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, scrutiny evidence page: .