36.The original regulations were brought into effect on 13 March 2020 to encourage people to self-isolate if they were infected with COVID-19. The pandemic legislation allowed them to be treated as not available for work and allowed benefits to be paid from the date of claim rather than imposing the statutory seven waiting days. The expiry date has since been extended twice and, as claims are still being received under this waiver, these Regulations extend the provisions for those claiming or entitled to Employment and Support Allowance from 12 November 2021 until 24 March 2022. (This instrument does not extend the provision for Universal Credit which is now dealt with under separate regulations.)
37.These Regulations remove all countries and territories from Category 3 (the Red List) with effect from 1 November 2021: the final countries removed were Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Venezuela. The instrument also makes a number of consequential amendments, for example, to allow previously restricted terminals at Heathrow and Birmingham airports to receive arrivals from non-Red List countries with effect from 22 November 2021.
38.The “eligible traveller” category has been extended to include individuals who have participated in approved COVID-19 clinical trials. It will now also fully apply to individuals vaccinated in the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and individuals certified in Scotland as clinically unable to receive vaccinations.
39.The requirement to have received a vaccine in a relevant country or the UK is being removed, but the requirement to have a vaccine certificate from a relevant country is maintained. Anyone who has received one of the four recognised vaccines anywhere in the world will qualify for eligible traveller status if they have received a vaccine certificate from a country where the UK recognises vaccine certification.
40.These Regulations correct an omission from regulation 5(3) of SI 2021/1210, described above, immediately before it came into effect. They add 12 countries to the list of “relevant countries” from which vaccine certificates are accepted: Lesotho, Peru, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, and Uruguay.