Evacuation from the islands during the coronavirus pandemic

If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms whilst visiting the Isles of Scilly, you must immediately:

  • self-isolate in your accommodation
  • notify your accommodation provider
  • and arrange for a test. See our coronavirus symptoms and testing page for full details on how to access a COVID-19 test on the islands.

You must follow these instructions even if you are due to leave the islands imminently, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. You must not travel if you are symptomatic.

You will be required to self-isolate in your accommodation until you receive your PCR test result. If the test result is negative and no further medical intervention is necessary, you will be able to continue your holiday and travel home as planned.

Evacuation from the islands during the coronavirus pandemic

Currently, visitors to the islands who are symptomatic, test positive for COVID-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and asked to self-isolate, are automatically expected to self-isolate in their accommodation for their full isolation period. However, in the exceptional circumstances in which this is not viable, it may be agreed that the best course of action would be to evacuate you (and potentially other members of your travel party) to the mainland. The final decision will be based on factors such as:

  • Public Health agreeing that evacuation is a safe option in your case
  • Government guidance at the time of the positive test result
  • Medical opinion
  • Wider public health risk, as assessed at the time of the positive test result
  • Where you are staying, how long for and whether it is viable for you to stay there, or elsewhere on the islands, for the duration of your self-isolation period
  • How you travelled during the mainland leg of the journey to Scilly
  • Demand on the islands’ health services
  • Which destination you are due to return to

The range of implications relating to these factors means there is no guarantee that it will be possible to evacuate you from the islands in the event that you contract coronavirus during your stay.

If a decision is made that evacuation would be the best course of action and Public Health agree that it is safe to do so, you will be supported by the Local Incident Response Team and a Personal Evacuation Plan will be drawn up, detailing how the evacuation will take place and how the risk of further spread will be minimised. This plan will take into account things such as how your luggage will be transported, whether it is safest to transport you by air or sea, how you will get to your evacuation point and what your onward journey will involve. The Personal Evacuation Plan will be shared with Port Health Cornwall.

The cost of a COVID-19 evacuation from the islands to the mainland, triggered by the considerations set out above, would be covered by a funding pot which has been established by the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Tresco Estate and the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company specifically for this purpose. These organisations created this fund in recognition of the difficulties of self-isolation during the peak season, when the availability of accommodation is limited. Evacuees will be responsible for the costs and arrangements of travel to the quay / airport on St Mary’s and for the onward journey on the mainland, plus any other costs incurred or committed to as a result of changes to the original booking or plans.

If you have any further questions about the pandemic response arrangements on the islands, please do not hesitate to email keepscillysafe@scilly.gov.uk.