CYIL vol. 12 (2021)
CYIL 12 (2021) RESTRICTING DIPLOMATIC PRIVILEGES IN THE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC HEALTH?… missions have been included in the Belgian national vaccination strategy on a voluntary basis, the invitation for vaccination was sent to the address of a mission in case of diplomats, and to the private addresses in case of technical, service and other staff. 61 Similarly, most of the EU/European countries generally exempt 62 diplomats, holders of diplomatic passports, international staff or other persons enjoying privileges and immunities, from mandatory quarantine and from a duty to register and/or present a negative test upon arrival but this slightly varies in some cases. 63 If not exempt, it is usually in cases of reasonable necessity, such as mandatory quarantine in situation when a diplomat experiences symptoms. 64 If a quarantine has to be compulsory followed, it is rather a self-isolation or home-quarantine that is envisaged, with a resolute exclusion of quarantine in government- run facilities. 65 A common feature is, that generally the language of information provided for foreign missions is advisory and cautious rather than mandatory: diplomats are strongly urged or highly expected to comply with regulations. This has also been applied by Slovak authorities since April 2020: the MFA Office of Protocol has continuously informed foreign embassies accredited to Slovakia on the measures taken by Slovak authorities and strongly encourages them to respect those. 66 The regulations imposing mandatory self-isolation, quarantine in government-run facilities or compulsory swabbing tests, have explicitly excluded persons enjoying privileges and immunities, or holders of diplomatic passports, from such measures. 67 61 Ibid, with an update of August 9, 2021. 62 See e.g. Netherlands (https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/visiting-the-netherlands-from- abroad/self-quarantine/exceptions-mandatory-quarantine); Czech Republic (https://www.vlada.cz/en/media- centrum/aktualne/important-covid-19-measures-for-foreigners-183562/). 63 Norway, for instance, exempts only members of resident diplomatic missions, including their family members, and this applies to entry restrictions, duty to register, duty to present a negative test, mandatory testing and quarantine in a hotel. However, if a diplomat travels from non-EEA/Schengen + UK area, he or she is subject to compulsory rapid testing upon arrival, equally as any other individual. Cited in https://www.regjeringen.no/ en/dep/ud/about_mfa/diplomatic_relations/covid19_notes/id2693823/ [13-7-2021] As for Germany, on the other hand, exemptions from obligation to registrate and to self-isolate apply only to high-ranking members of diplomatic and consular service, while other members of missions are exempt from mandatory testing in order to end the isolation. See detail in Federal Ministry of Health Ordonance of 30 July 2021, available here https://www. bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/fileadmin/Dateien/3_Downloads/C/Coronavirus/Verordnungen/210730_ CoronaEinreiseVBAnz_EN.pdf [1-9-2021]. 64 See for instance measures taken by French government during May 2020 – stating explicitly that staff of diplomatic and consular missions and of international organizations having their headquarters or offices in France, together with their family members, are exempt from a 14-day-quarantine, except if they show symptoms . Press release of 22 May 2020, available here https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus- advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/coronavirus-statements/article/travel-restrictions-and-implementation- of-public-health-measures-at-borders [1-7-2021]. 65 See for instance measures applied by the United Kingdom vis-a-vis diplomats and international servants; in those cases a negative test before arrival is needed, and testing upon arrival is encouraged together with a requirement of a 10-day-home quarantine. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus- covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border- rules#diplomatic-missions-international-organisations-and-conferences [1-7-2021]. 66 Circular notes of , at file with author. 67 See e.g. Measure of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic , No. OLP/3353/2020, April 29, 2020, para. 4, available in English here https://korona.gov.sk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/measure-of-the-public- health-authority-of-the-slovak-republic-no.-olp_3353_2020.pdf [1-7-2021].
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