2. What type of work can I carry out? (19/05/20)

Although veterinary practices may remain open, it is vital to continue to comply with current government guidelines on working safely, which vary by nation within the UK, and to be mindful of the relevant guidance for members of the public.

When deciding whether or not to carry out a particular type of work, you should refer to the flowchart below (also available to download as a pdf) and use it to guide you through the decision-making process.

Coronavirus practice flow chart (19 May 2020)

Please note:

We have considered and produced the flowchart and associated guidance for the veterinary profession in line with the latest UK government advice to employers and businesses, UK government sector guidance on social distancing in the workplace (retail) and Welsh government guidance on taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace.

This flowchart was originally published on 9 April 2020, and then updated on 19 May 2020 with some minor amendments.

A print-ready version of this flowchart is also available to download as a PDF document.

Contact the Advice Team: advice@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0789

Last updated: 19 May 2020

Related FAQs

  • You should only undertake testing for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in animals where it is in the interest of the health and welfare of the animal and is in line with APHA guidance. It should not be a screening test.

    You should be mindful of the fact that SARS-CoV-2 appears to be a very rare cause of mild clinical disease; other differentials should be considered, investigated and ruled out as more likely causes of clinical signs before performing testing for SARS-CoV-2  

    The small number of animals worldwide which have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 to date have shown only mild respiratory signs and gastrointestinal distress. In the absence of a specific treatment for the virus, testing for SARS-CoV-2 has not, and should not, result in alteration to case management. You are therefore urged to carefully consider before undertaking any such test and the benefit to the specific animal.

    Where it is intended that clinical research projects are to be undertaken, for instance, utilising blood that is derived from clinical sampling, ie for a diagnostic or treatment purpose, or via non-invasive sampling, eg swabs, these should be the subject of appropriate ethical review . Otherwise, sampling to answer research investigations is regulated by The Home Office under The Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

    Collecting samples from animals must only be undertaken with due consideration to the current social distancing requirements. Further, as confirmed contact with a suspect human case is one of the criteria for considering testing (see APHA guidance) particular caution should be taken when handling the animal due to the risk of it acting as a fomite.

    If, after careful consideration, you feel that testing for SARS-CoV-2 is necessary, you should assess the types of samples that are needed, ie check with the lab before collection to get it right first time and avoid unnecessary handling or repeat sampling of the animal.

    Please note that although SARS-CoV-2 is currently not a notifiable disease in animals in the UK (or EU), nevertheless, you have a professional obligation to report positive test results to the competent authority - Office of the UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) in England and respective CVOs in the devolved administrations - to support the UK's international reporting obligations to the OIE.

     

    Contact the Advice Team: advice@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0789

    Last updated: 13 May 2020 

  • The new UK border rules introduced due to coronavirus state that any person returning to the UK from overseas (excluding Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) must provide their journey and contact details, and self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.

    There are exemptions in place for certain categories of workers in the UK. For each of the devolved nations, travel corridor exemptions are in place and are subject to review dependant on the level of risk for certain countries/territories.

    The quarantine exemptions are different for each of the regions of the UK. Please see below for details of the system in place in your area. In addition, please refer to your employer’s protocols for the interpretation of legislation for your specific work and personal situation.

     

    England

    Travel corridors

    The government has eased quarantine measures in England and has introduced travel corridor exemptions for some countries and territories.

    From 10 July 2020, you will not have to self-isolate when you arrive in England if you:

    • Are travelling or returning from one of the countries with a travel corridor exemption; or
    • Have not been to or stopped in a country that is not on the travel corridors exemption list in the previous 14 days.

    View the full list of countries and territories that are included.

    All other travel where the travel corridor exemptions do not apply

    There are exemptions in place for some travellers, including certain veterinary surgeons, where they have travelled to the UK in the course of their work or otherwise to commence or resume work, as follows:

    • Veterinary surgeons involved in the food supply chain, and
    • Official Veterinarians (OVs) working on official controls at the border

    Those veterinary surgeons involved in the food supply chain are exempt under the following guideline, with the food supply being covered under ‘goods’:

    a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services (including commissioning, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods

    In addition, there are exemptions for qualified persons and responsible persons for human and veterinary medicines, clinical trials, clinical investigations and pharmacovigilance.

    The full list of exemptions is available on the government website.

     

    Wales

    Travel corridors

    The Welsh government has eased quarantine measures and introduced travel corridor exemptions for some countries and territories.

    View the full list of countries and territories that are included.

    All other travel where the travel corridor exemptions do not apply.

    There are exemptions in place for certain veterinary professionals as follows:

    • Those involved in the production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods;
    • Those involved in veterinary medicines for the purposes of clinical trials; and
    • Those involved in veterinary medicines for the purposes of quality assurance

    Please refer to the full list of exemptions on the Welsh government website.

     

    Scotland

    Air bridges

    The Scottish government has announced a list of countries where quarantine measures do not apply on arrival to Scotland. Please refer to the full list of countries.

    All other travel where the travel bridge exemptions do not apply.

    Please note that for people travelling to Scotland there are some differences from the exemptions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, namely, there are no quarantine exemptions for veterinary professionals:

    • Registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus - will need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are staying in Scotland;
    • Frequent travellers for work: if you live in the UK but work in another country and travel between the UK and country of work at least once a week; and/or you live outside the UK but work in the UK and travel between your country of residence and the UK at least once a week - will need to self-isolate for 14 days if you are staying in Scotland.

    Please refer to the Scottish government website.

     

    Northern Ireland

    Travel corridors

    The NI government has eased quarantine measures and introduced travel corridor exemptions for some countries and territories.

    View the full list of countries and territories that are included.

    All other travel where the travel corridor exemptions do not apply.

    The categories of veterinary professionals exempt from quarantine mirror those exempt for England, namely:

    • Veterinary surgeons involved in the food supply chain; and
    • Qualified persons and responsible persons for human and veterinary medicines, clinical trials, clinical investigations and pharmacovigilance.

    Please refer to the full list of exemptions on the NI government website.

    Contact the Advice Team: advice@rcvs.org.uk or 020 7202 0789

    Last updated: 10 July 2020

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