Coronavirus Travel Advice to Missions June 2020
As you are aware, the world is currently experiencing a Coronavirus pandemic (and COVID-19, which can be caused by the virus). Due to the fast transition of the virus it is an extremely dynamic and fluid situation, and as a department we are monitoring the Government websites and other mission organisations. Within the UK, advice continues to be that you should stay at home, unless for the specific reasons listed as by the UK Government (https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus).
With that in mind, we are continuing with our advice that only essential travel overseas should be attempted. We do not class short term teams as essential travel during this season.
By essential travel we mean;
Time sensitive urgent activity at your destination.
A crisis that outweighs the potential to either pass on the virus you may not know you are carrying, or may pick up on your travel.
We have taken the decision to continue our postponement of planning any short-term teams through our office at least until the third week of July, owing in large part to the uncertainty of international travel and possible restrictions imposed by host countries. We are hopeful that we will be in a position to begin arranging short term teams, for our churches, once again following this time. At the moment, our recommendation will be for planning from mid-July 2020 onwards for visits to take place from January 2021.
Any overseas visit will need to consider and ensure that:
the host ministry is able to accommodate a meaningful itinerary,
there are no quarantine measures in place on your arrival,
those on the team are aware they will liable for any financial cost of cancellations
the health implications for those on the team should they contract coronavirus
If you are still intent on travel, please note, you do so at your own risk. If you are taking a team and decide to book your own flight and accommodation you become the travel agent and are therefore liable for the cost of any cancellations, as you will not be covered under Elim Missions ATOL and the legal advice we have received from leading travel law firm, TravLaw, regarding Package Travel Regulations.
The UK Government, from the beginning of June 2020, instructed that all arrivals (either UK Citizens or non-UK Citizens) from any country except the Republic of Ireland, must observe a 14-day quarantine period. Other countries around the world are imposing similar restrictions. Please make sure you fully understand any disruption to you while in the placement country and when returning back to the UK.
This is in light of the recent move by many countries to put greater restrictions to gatherings of people and travel within their borders. We strongly advise that if you are still planning to continue with premade travel arrangements or book travel arrangements and the cost of the trip outweighs the potential risks involved in travelling.
A consideration you should assess is the potential increased risk to others back here in the UK, particularly if your work involves pastoral visiting of those who are vulnerable within your community.
In light of the all the above, it is vital that we are aware of any missions’ trips happening during this time. Should you get isolated in country, become ill, and locked in a country that has an operational travel ban in force, you would no doubt need Elim UK assistance, so if we don’t know where you are or have any travel details and documents on file, it makes our ability to assist you very difficult.
With all this in mind during the next six weeks, we will not be processing any new bookings unless is it is deemed essential travel, following discussion with the International Missions Director.
This advice will be in effect and supersedes our previous advice issued on 13 th March 2020. It will be in effect until we re-issued guidance.
Blessings in Christ,
International Missions Director
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