On 4 July 2020, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its global advisory against all but essential travel, exempting some countries that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers against coronavirus (COVID-19).
The fitfortravel (for the general public) and TRAVAX (for health professionals) country pages have been updated to include a COVID-19 country specific risk-rating, with every country being identified as high, moderate or low risk and each rating accompanied by appropriate travel advice. This information will be listed in the ‘Alerts’ section on each country page of fitfortravel and the 'Emerging Health Risks' section of every TRAVAX country page. The risk-rating is based on a robust public health assessment of the COVID-19 risks for travellers to each country, and will be regularly reviewed. However, as the global spread of COVID-19 can change at any time, travellers are advised to consider the advice below before planning international travel.
It should be noted that the risk ratings for Austria, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium, Andorra, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sint Maarten and the Bahamas have recently been upgraded, reflecting an increase of cases in these countries.
Advice for travellers
Before planning and/or booking international travel, please check:
Information relating to travel and COVID-19 is available on the TRAVAX (for healthcare practitioners) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Information on COVID-19 for the general public is available on the NHS Inform (Scotland) and the NHS.UK (rest of the UK) websites.
Information and resources on COVID-19 for health professionals is available on the Health Protection Scotland (HPS) (Scotland) and Public Health England (PHE) (rest of the UK) websites.
Source: TRAVAX, July 2020
Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed the diagnosis of a case of babesiosis and a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in England. This is the first record of a UK-acquired case of babesiosis, and the second case of TBE being acquired in the UK. Both are rare infections, usually spread by the bite from an infected tick. Babesiosis is caused by a parasite which infects red blood cells, while TBE is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system.
Both patients have been transferred to hospital, where they are receiving appropriate treatment and supportive care. PHE has surveyed sites in Devon, close to where the person with babesiosis lives, collecting and testing hundreds of ticks, all of which tested negative for the parasite which causes babesiosis. PHE has also tested deer blood samples from areas in Hampshire, near to where the person with probable TBE lives, which have shown evidence of likely TBE virus infection, matching similar results found in 2019.
Further information on TBE can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: PHE, 31 July 2020
On 30 July 2020, the UK Government opened a public consultation on front-of-pack nutrition labels (FOPNL). Since 2013, the UK Government and the devolved administrations have recommended a voluntary ‘traffic light’ FOPNL scheme, which has proven to be popular with both the food and drink industry and shoppers.
While the UK was an EU member state, the European Food Information to Consumers Regulation 2011/1169 (EU FIC) established the criteria for the use and form of FOPNL. At this stage, there are no proposed changes to legislation or policy governing FOPNL in the UK once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.
The consultation asks for views and evidence on:
• how the current recommended FOPNL scheme can be improved
• new international examples of FOPNL being adopted in other countries
• whether updated nutrition guidelines should be incorporated on any new FOPNL scheme
The consultation closes on 21 October 2020 and responses can be submitted online.
Source: UK Government, 30 July 2020
On 28 July 2020, the Scottish Government Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson, launched Transport Scotland’s ‘Rail services decarbonisation action plan’, detailing the strategy which aims to decarbonise Scotland’s rail passenger services by 2035.
This action plan focusses on decarbonising transport through modal shift to rail, and decarbonising rail traction energy through the removal of diesel passenger trains from the Scottish network by 2035. As Transport Scotland take this forward, they aim to:
• maximise all opportunities for modal shift to rail from private vehicles and heavy goods vehicles
• continue to provide reliable services
• optimise how they use rolling stock, creating more seats and services for passengers
• plan for a railway system where power use can be decarbonised efficiently
Preparatory work for the first electrification projects, on the East Kilbride and Barrhead lines, is already underway, with Anniesland/Maryhill and Borders routes also being progressed. Early work has also begun to assess how inter-city routes can be tackled to inform delivery programmes and funding decisions.
Source: Scottish Government, 31 July 2020
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published guidelines for addressing climate change and sustainability in all new standards produced. The guide aims to provide a systematic approach, relevant principles and useful information to help standards writers address climate change impacts, risks and opportunities in their own standardisation work.
The ISO hope the new guide can raise awareness and understanding across the whole of the standardization community, not just those involved in sustainable development standards, helping organizations build resilience and preparedness to future climate impacts as well as addressing low-carbon transition risks and opportunities. Use of the guide should also result in greater contribution to the achievement of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Source: ISO, 28 July 2020