Some Britons have reacted with fury after the government announced that important foreign business visitors can come and go as they please, without quarantining, if their trips contribute to economic growth.
On Tuesday, the Department for Business (BEIS) announced new exemptions for people coming to England for commercial purposes. Under the new rules, business leaders, whose trip is likely to deliver “significant economic benefit” for the UK, no longer need to quarantine themselves on arrival if they are travelling from the long list of ‘amber’ countries.
The exemption applies to those travelling to England to make a “financial investment in a UK-based business” or for “establishing a new business within the UK,” according to the BEIS.
The government defines a trip as having potential for “significant economic benefit” if there is more than a 50% chance the visit could preserve at least 500 UK-based jobs or create a new UK-based business within two years. If their trip does not meet the requirements, amber-list travellers must quarantine at home or in the place they’re staying for 10 days.
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However, the new BEIS policy has gone down like a lead balloon on Twitter with many highlighting how it’s one rule for the rich, another for everyone else. “So basically, if you have money then you’re fine, but if you’re not rich then…” one person wrote.
Another Twitter user suggested the lockdown was never the same for elites anyway, and that they were always allowed to get away without following Covid-19 rules. “Has been the case the entire time, the fines and quarantine were only for us normal folk,” she wrote.
Others ironically commented that they didn’t realise the Covid-19 virus – particularly the quickly spreading Delta variant – was intelligent enough to distinguish businesspeople from lowly paupers.
“That’s great that COVID 19 can tell the difference between normal people travelling and business people who will have a significant economic benefit,” one person wrote.
I don't think the Delta variant can distinguish between Foreign Business Leaders bringing economic benefits and the rest of us so full quarantine rules must apply
— Stephen Mundy (@SteveMundy) June 29, 2021
Another said they must have missed the agreement made between the government and Covid-19 which provides “for immunity from infection to foreign business leaders doing business in the UK.”
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Under current rules, people entering the UK from amber-list countries are forced to quarantine regardless of vaccination status. Travellers from Covid hotspots, deemed red-list countries, are not exempt from the quarantine regardless of important business needs.
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