Home Secretary Priti Patel outlined the restrictions to Parliament today (June 3), stating that “the scientific advice is that imported cases of the virus pose a more significant threat to our national effort and our recovery”.
“Travellers from overseas, could become a higher proportion of the overall number of infections in the UK and therefore increase the spread of the disease,” said Patel.
“The government is therefore taking a proportionate and time-limited approach to protect the health of the British public.”
As previously announced, the quarantine measure will apply to most arrivals into the UK from June 8, with travellers required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Arrivals will be required to fill in a ‘Contact Locator Form’ online in advance of travel, with spot checks at the border and £100 fines for those failing to show a receipt proving they have completed the form.
Those found to be breaching self-isolation rules may face a £1,000 fine.
The first review of the restrictions will take place on June 28, with the government considering a number of factors before deciding whether to relax the rule, including:
- the rate of infection and transmission internationally and the credibility of the reporting
- the measures that international partners have put in place
- levels of imported cases in other countries, and where there are more relaxed border measures
- and the degree to which antibody and other methods of testing prove effective in minimising the health risk
- country specific reports will be provided to allow us to monitor global progress
There will be certain exemptions – trucks drivers and medical professionals will not have to self-quarantine on arrival into the UK, and nor will those arriving from the Common Travel Area (Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands). Patel also said that the government would explore “international travel corridors” with countries deemed to be safe.
Earlier this week it was revealed that a letter to the Home Secretary calling for UK quarantine plans to be scrapped has now attracted over 200 signatories from the travel and hospitality sectors.
And today Ryanair called the measures “not just ineffective and useless, but far too little far too late”. In a statement the carrier said:
“For a quarantine to be effective, inbound passengers arriving at ports and airports need to be ‘detained’ at their point of arrival. The UK government however proposes to collect mobile phone numbers from inbound visitors but then allow them to travel on the London underground, the Heathrow Express, the Gatwick Express, the bus network, and/or taxis to and from London, and to/from every other airport in the UK.
“Any inbound visitors could therefore spread the Covid-19 virus on public transport across London, and in every other major UK city with an airport, before ever arriving at their ‘quarantine address’. There is nothing to stop these visitors shopping in any other supermarket, to collect groceries and any other essentials before arriving at their 14 day quarantine address.
“Once they have arrived at their ‘quarantine address’, the UK government will phone less than 1 per cent of these visitors but only on their mobile phone, which can be answered from any golf course, beach, park or indeed supermarket across the UK, thereby rendering this quarantine utterly ineffective and useless.
“For the UK to be imposing a 14 day quarantine on inbound visitors when it already has one of the worst Covid infection and death rates in Europe, is closing the door long after the horse has bolted. Most visitors to the UK from Europe are arriving from countries with a lower R rate than the UK, which renders this 14 day quarantine not just ineffective and useless, but far too little far too late.”
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