Exemption from U.K. list no snub: High Commissioner
Samoa’s exclusion from a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from a requirement to quarantine for 14 on arrival in England simply reflects practicalities, the British High Commission has said.
The U.K’s High Commissioner, David Ward, said the decision to include countries on the list was the result of an initial assessment that accounted for various factors. These included the prevalence of COVID 19 in a given country; demand and ease of travel to the U.K.; available transit routes for the country; and the COVID-19 status any transit hubs into England from a country.
While Samoa is one of only 12 counties not to have ever registered a case of COVID-19, it does not meet the other criteria the High Commissioner explained.
New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia are included in the list of 59 countries exempted from the mandatory self-isolation.
Notably, the United States of America’s citizens are also not on the list.
“The British High Commission expects that future reviews of this exemption list will take into account the COVID-free status of Samoa and other Pacific island states in a similar position, but notes that given existing limitations on travel in the Pacific region, inclusion or otherwise on this list is currently of limited practical consequence,” Mr. Ward said.
“The British High Commission in Samoa currently knows of no British citizens in Samoa seeking assistance to return to the United Kingdom, or citizens of Samoa seeking to enter the United Kingdom, who might be affected by the requirement for self-isolation on entry and any exemption from it.”
The list was initially published on 3 July and applies to England, not other parts of the United Kingdom, such as Scotland or Wales, which are responsible for their own health policies and maintain their own entry requirements.
“All those British tourists and others who had sought assistance to return to the United Kingdom after the initial outbreak of COVID 19 had left Samoa before the publication of this list,” the High Commissioner said.
“Given that it is not currently possible for British citizens to enter Samoa as tourists the High Commission does not foresee that in the short term there will be increased demand from returning tourists to enter the United Kingdom without isolation.”
“The High Commission also notes that most routes from Samoa to the United Kingdom will involve transit through hubs, including, for example, those in the Gulf, which would almost certainly require a traveller passing through them to enter self-isolation on entry to England,” Mr. Ward added.