International Arrivals To Self-Isolate For 14 Days Or Risk £1,000 Fine

Clay Curtis
May 23, 2020

Britain will introduce a COVID-19 quarantine for all travellers arriving from overseas from June 8, interior minister Priti Patel said on Friday, a measure that airlines have warned will devastate their industry.

The British government has previously said the quarantine will start in early June and will apply to arrivals from everywhere except Ireland, which has a longstanding free-movement agreement with the U.K. Ireland is expected to announce similar measures.

Anyone breaching the two-week self-isolation faces £1,000 fixed penalty or prosecution with an unlimited fine, although Scotland is expected to set it at £60 to stay in line with penalties for breaches of lockdown regulations.

The quarantine measures will not apply to those arriving from the Republic of Ireland, and there are also exemptions for freight drivers, medical professionals and seasonal agricultural workers. "It is something we will be reviewing every three weeks or so".

The UK has recorded the highest number of deaths in Europe from coronavirus, with more than 36,000 people who have tested positive having died so far.

The broadcaster also reports that Australian officials want the country to be exempted from the restrictions, referring to its travellers as "low risk".

As part of the plans, which are aimed at guarding against a second wave of coronavirus infections, all arrivals would be asked to fill in a form with their contact information.

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

Border control officers will also be able to refuse entry to foreign citizens who are not United Kingdom residents during border checks, and the Home Office said that removal from the country could be used as a last resort.

But despite working closely with the French authorities, Patel said arrivals from France would have to go into quarantine. They may also leave it in "an emergency", a spokeswoman added.

Image: Passengers arrive from global flights at Heathrow Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, May 10, 2020.

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the party supported the new measures "but is clear they are no substitute for a long-term, well thought through approach".

Greece's long-awaited tourist season will begin on June 15 with the opening of seasonal hotels and the arrival of the first foreign visitors, while worldwide flights will begin heading directly for holiday destinations from July 1.

France says it may quarantine people arriving from an area "where the virus is circulating", but it has not published a list of targeted areas.

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