10.One instrument relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Testing Requirements and Standards) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/682), is drawn to the special attention of the House in this report (see paragraphs 1 to 9 above).
11.These Regulations include three measures intended to assist the recovery of the hospitality industry following the coronavirus pandemic:
12.This instrument adjusts grace periods and transitional provisions in relation to import requirements that apply to certain marketing standards sectors, such as hops and hop products, wine and fruit and vegetables, and concerning the requirements for the import of organic products from the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland into Great Britain (GB). The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) explains that transitional provisions were introduced before the end of the Transition Period to allow businesses more time to prepare for the introduction of new certification and inspection requirements and to minimise disruption of trade with the EU. This instrument aligns the dates when the new requirements will be introduced with the revised timetable for the introduction of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) border control checks.
13.The changes mean that the transitional period for hops and hop products, wine and organic products will be extended from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022, while the transitional period for fruit and vegetables will be shortened from 31 December 2022 to 1 March 2022. According to Defra, the original transition periods are no longer an appropriate timeframe because of the scale of the pandemic and the additional time businesses need to prepare. Defra says that without the changes, EU exports of hops, wine and organic products to GB “would be halted, while also attracting a considerable amount of media attention and controversy, compromising the UK’s reputation as a trading partner”.
14.These Regulations amend the International Travel Regulations to remove Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira) from the Green List (Category 1) and add Afghanistan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Egypt to the Red List (Category 3). Concerns have been raised about passengers from Red List countries mixing with other passengers; accordingly, regulation 9 permits direct flights from Red List countries to land in England at Birmingham South Terminal or Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, so that they can be processed entirely separately. London Biggin Hill Airport is also added to the list of airports at which people who have been in or transited through Red List countries may arrive.
15.These Regulations tighten up requirements so that international arrivals, who are not claiming a work-based exemption, must purchase the appropriate package even if they are staying for a shorter period: those from a Category 1 country must purchase a day 2 test, those from a Category 2 country must purchase a day 2 and day 8 test, even if they are staying for a shorter period.
6 Written Statement , Session 2021–22.
7 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021 ().