A priority for the COP Presidency was ensuring an in-person and inclusive summit. We believed that was essential to success at COP26 and delivering for our planet.
The UK Government, as hosts of COP26, worked tirelessly with all our partners, including the Scottish Government and the UN, to deliver a safe and inclusive summit in November 2021.
We implemented a comprehensive set of COVID-19 mitigation measures to keep the summit as safe as possible for all those involved. We 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 was for everyone attending to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Full vaccination was strongly encouraged for all those attending COP.
- The UK and Scottish Governments both amended legislation; uniquely for COP26 we recognised all COVID-19 vaccines and all vaccination programmes, including at our borders.
- We recognised that COVID-19 vaccines are not readily available in all countries, and so ran a programme, 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 received requests for vaccines from 75 countries and they were delivered through the FCDO, the UN Department of Operational Support (UNDOS) and, where appropriate, through the country’s own vaccination programmes.
- The AstraZeneca vaccines we provided via the FCDO were used in accordance with the company’s guidelines and the relevant licensing conditions in countries where delegates are being vaccinated. These allowed a gap of four weeks between doses.
- UNDOS offered a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Travel & Quarantine
- In order to enable the attendance of all UNFCCC Registered COP Attendees, we ensured that there were COP-specific arrangements for the COVID Travel Regime people encountered as they enter England and Scotland. For those who had not been in red list countries or territories in the 10-days immediately prior to their arrival into the UK there was no quarantine requirement; for those that had there was 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 funded 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.
- There was a bespoke booking process in place for registered attendees that meet the funding criteria.
- The quarantine package included 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 was completed.
Testing & Hygiene Measures
- We had 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 – had 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 was required to isolate immediately and take a PCR test to confirm the result.
- If the PCR result was negative, they were be released from isolation. If the result was positive, they needed to complete 10 full days of self-isolation. The required test materials and processing were provided free of charge by the UK Government.
- In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case, it was critical that we rapidly identify any close contacts to prevent the virus spreading. We worked with relevant partners to ensure appropriate language and translation services were available to support contact tracing at COP26.
- Further public health measures in place at COP26 included physical distancing, appropriate greetings, face-coverings and a comprehensive set of hygiene and ventilation measures.