United Kingdom plans to quarantine visitors to contain coronavirus

Clay Curtis
May 23, 2020

Under the rules, announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel, all worldwide arrivals - including British citizens - will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and provide details of where they will be staying to the authorities.

The quarantine measures will not apply to those arriving from the Irish Republic, and there are also exemptions for freight drivers, medical professionals and seasonal agricultural workers.

Others have questioned why Britain did not introduce quarantine earlier, like countries such as South Korea, Spain and the United States.

The UK government is set to unveil tough new procedures later on Friday for worldwide travellers coming into the country as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown is gradually eased, including 14-day mandatory quarantines and possible fines for a breach.

That is bad news for those hoping for a foreign summer holiday.

Britain later said France would not be exempt.

"Arrivals will be required to travel directly from their port or airport of arrival, preferably by vehicle, to an address where they must then self-isolate for a fortnight".

"The reality is we are saying to people if you are going to go overseas you need to look at the fact you may well need to do quarantine when you come back", UK Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the BBC, in reference to the expected announcement.

Since the start of lockdown, air travel has been off the table unless it's essential travel. We are not closing our borders. "We want to avoid a second wave and that is absolutely vital".

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Trade body Airlines UK has said it "would effectively kill" global travel to the UK.

"We really desperately need some help", she said.

The new quarantine rules will also see passengers fill in a digital form providing their contact and travel information so they can be traced and potentially face random checks from public health authorities.

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.

They should not go out for tasks such as food purchase or other essentials "where they can rely on others" and they should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are "providing essential support".

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.

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.

As of Friday morning, 254,195 people have tested positive for the disease in the country, marking a daily increase of 3,287, said the department.

"We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave".

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