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Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians exempt from 14-day travel quarantine

By Isabel Shaw

10 Jun 2020

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can bypass the compulsory 14-day quarantine after arriving into the UK from abroad, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed.

Pharmacy team members who are registered with the GPhC are exempt from the 14-day self-isolation period. However, this means that others, such as pharmacy assistants, will not experience the same exemption.

Arrivals into either of the three countries will have to self-isolate at a private residence for 14 days under new rules introduced by the UK government on Monday (June 8) to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Under the newly enforced measures, travellers could face fines of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK.

Certain key workers are exempt from the enforced quarantine so that people can return to the frontline as soon as possible. These include farmers, lorry drivers, and healthcare workers registered with professional health bodies.

Unlike the other two devolved nations, the Scottish government has recently decided not to allow registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to bypass the 14-day quarantine.

Newly published guidelines state: ‘Registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus – will need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are staying in Scotland’.

Pharmacy teams who wear correct personal protective equipment (PPE) in England are also exempt from 14-day self-isolation if contacted by contact tracer, Public Health England announced today.

This update comes following weeks of growing concern amongst pharmacists and pharmacy bodies around the new test, track and trace. The sector expressed worries that pharmacies may have to close for weeks at a time each time an infected person entered the pharmacy.

Pharmacy teams may have a greater chance than average of being in contact with people with Covid-19 symptoms, and, therefore, of being required to self-isolate as a result of contact tracing.

Last week a DH spokesperson told the Pharmacist that Pharmacy team members in England who wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) will not be considered to have come into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 and will not have to self-isolate.

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