Coronavirus: Quarantine plans for UK arrivals unveiled

People arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the government has said.

Travellers will need to tell the government where they will quarantine, with enforcement through random spot checks and £1,000 fines in England.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the measure would “reduce the risk of cases crossing our border”.

Lorry drivers, seasonal farm workers, and coronavirus medics will be exempt.

The requirement will also not apply to those travelling from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

According to the Home Office, the new policy will be in place across the UK, although how it is enforced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be determined by the devolved administrations.

If a person does not have suitable accommodation to go to, they will be required to stay in “facilities arranged by the government” at the person’s own expense, according to Border Force chief Paul Lincoln.

‘Not shutting down’

Ms Patel told the daily Downing Street briefing the measures were not the same as completely shutting the UK border to visitors.

“We are not shutting down completely. We are not closing our borders,” she said.

And asked about the prospect of foreign holidays this summer, she added: “This is absolutely not about booking holidays. We want to avoid a second wave and that is absolutely vital.”

So-called “air bridges” – agreements with countries that have low infection rates allowing tourists to travel without quarantining – will not be in place initially, the government said.

The new measure, previously announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will be reviewed every three weeks once it is introduced.

But airlines have said a quarantine requirement would “effectively kill air travel” – and one airport boss described the plans as a “blunt tool” .

The government currently recommends international travel only when absolutely necessary, and nobody should travel if they display any coronavirus symptoms.

What does the new system involve?

Passengers arriving in the UK will be required to fill out an online locator contact form – providing details of where they will spend their 14 days in self-isolation.

 

The Home Office said the proposed accommodation will need to meet necessary requirements, such as a hotel or a private address with friends or family.

There will be a fine of £100 for failure to complete the form, and the Border Force will have the power to refuse entry to non-UK citizens who do not comply with the new regulations.

New arrivals will be told they may be contacted at any time during their quarantine and, in England, may be visited by public health authorities conducting spot checks.

They will be told to avoid public transport and travel to their accommodation by car “where possible”, and not to go out to buy food or other essentials “where they can rely on others”.

In England, a breach of self-isolation would be punishable by a £1,000 fixed penalty notice, or prosecution and an unlimited fine for persistent offenders.

 

 


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