Whilst COVID-19 continues to present huge challenges across the world, tackling the climate crisis cannot wait. Which is why the UK Government, as hosts of COP26, are working tirelessly with all our partners, including the Scottish Government and the UN, to deliver a safe and inclusive summit.
A priority for the COP Presidency has been ensuring an in-person and inclusive summit, because we believe that is essential to success at COP26 and delivering for our planet. We are implementing a comprehensive set of COVID-19 mitigation measures to keep the summit as safe as possible for all those involved. We have consulted with chief medical officers alongside public health and clinical leads across England and Scotland to inform the approach of the package of measures we have in place.
- The safest way for COP26 to happen in person is for everyone attending to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Full vaccination is strongly encouraged for all those attending COP.
- The UK and Scottish Governments have both amended legislation; uniquely for COP26 we will recognise all COVID-19 vaccines and all vaccination programmes. That includes at our borders.
- We recognise that COVID-19 vaccines are not readily available in all countries, and so ran a programme (entries for which have now closed), alongside our partners at the UN, to deliver vaccines to those who would otherwise have been unable to get one in their home country.
- We have received requests for vaccines from 75 countries. They are being delivered through the FCDO, the UN Department of Operational Support (UNDOS) and, where appropriate, though country’s own vaccination programmes.
- The AstraZeneca vaccines we are providing via the FCDO are being used in accordance with the company’s guidelines and the relevant licensing conditions in countries where delegates are being vaccinated. These allow a gap of four weeks between doses.
- UNDOS is offering a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We are on track to conclude our vaccine programme by 10 October, so that all relevant participants are fully vaccinated before COP26.
Travel & Quarantine
- In order to enable the attendance of all UNFCCC Registered COP Attendees, we have ensured that there will be COP-specific arrangements for the COVID Travel Regime people will encounter as they enter England and Scotland. For those who have not been in red list countries or territories in the 10-days immediately prior to their arrival into the UK there is no quarantine requirement; for those that have there is a:
○ reduced quarantine period of 5 days for fully vaccinated registered attendees, unique to COP26;
○ requirement for unvaccinated individuals, and those who have not shared their vaccination status, to quarantine for the standard 10 days.
- The UK Government will fund all required managed quarantine service (MQS) stays for UNFCCC Registered COP Attendees (vaccinated or unvaccinated) who would otherwise find it difficult to attend COP26, including those from the Global South and observer, non-state actors, media and representatives of international organisations. If in doubt check with the UK Embassy or High Commission in the country you are based in. The UK Government will also cover the costs of any attendees that test positive during the managed quarantine period and are required to extend their stay by a further 10 days.
- There is a bespoke booking process in place for registered attendees that meet the funding criteria. To book an MQS package, attendees must be registered and have confirmed their vaccination status on the UNFCCC portal. Once you have registered, complete this form: COP26 MQS Booking Request to book your managed quarantine stay.
- Detailed guidance on MQS, including the MQS booking process for those not eligible for UK Government funding, can be found on the Delegates page of the COP26 website.
- The quarantine package includes transport from the point of arrival in England or Scotland to the hotel, accommodation, three meals each day, any COVID-19 testing required during the stay and transport back to point of arrival after the quarantine period is completed.
- The UK is working with the UNFCCC to establish a trust fund to meet additional costs developing country delegates, as well as NGO and media attendees from developing countries, may incur in the rare circumstances that they contract COVID-19 during their stay in Glasgow and need to self-isolate and remain in Scotland longer than planned.
Testing & Hygiene Measures
- We will have strict COVID-19 testing protocols in place, including daily testing for everyone entering the Blue Zone to ensure the health and wellbeing of all those involved and the surrounding community.
- Every day those attending COP26 – whether vaccinated or not – will have to show a negative Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test result taken that day before entering the Blue Zone. In the event of a positive LFD, the individual will be required to isolate immediately and take a PCR test to confirm the result.
- If the PCR result is negative, they will be released from isolation. If the result is positive, they must complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The required test materials and processing will be provided free of charge by the UK Government.
- In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case, it will be critical that we rapidly identify any close contacts to prevent the virus spreading. We are working with relevant partners to ensure appropriate language and translation services are available to support contact tracing at COP26.
- Further public health measures in place at COP26 include physical distancing, appropriate greetings, face-coverings and a comprehensive set of hygiene and ventilation measures. We have built large temporary structures at the venue to help accommodate the greater space required for physical distancing rules, although even with these buildings in place there will be some COVID-19 constraints on room capacities.
Code of Conduct
- Everybody at COP26 has an important role to play in keeping the event COVID-19 safe. All delegates will be required to sign the COP26 Code of Conduct which outlines the COVID-19 safe behaviours all will be expected to follow, and builds on the regulations in place across Scotland. In the case of serious breaches of the Code, the UN will be able to revoke access to the conference premises.
- There are no limits on party size, however to support COVID-19 safety only those who have an essential role to play in delivering climate outcomes should attend COP. It is for each participant coming to COP to make this judgement.
- More information can be found here.