Home Secretary announces new 14 day quarantine for all UK arrivals – from 8th June. To be reviewed in 3 weeks
New measures at the UK border to guard against a 2nd wave of coronavirus infections have been announced by the Home Secretary. They include 14 days’ self-isolation for anyone entering the UK, bar a relatively short list of exemptions. The government takes the view that as the number of Covid infections in the UK falls, we cannot afford to have more entering from abroad, though they did not see the necessity to do this earlier. Anyone arriving at an airport, or other place of entry, will have to have filled in a contact form, with the address at which they will be staying. In theory, people will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and could have spot-checks during the period to ensure compliance. It is unclear by whom; the police do not have the resources to do so. There is theoretically a fine from breaching self-isolation, of £1,000. That limit might rise, if the infection risk rises in future. The measures will be reviewed in 3 weeks time. People should use personal transport, such as a car, to travel to their accommodation where possible. Once they arrive there, they should not leave their accommodation for 14 days, even to get food, if possible.
Many have questioned why this measure was not brought in weeks ago, though the UK population had to observe lockdown scrupulously.
Backlash begins after UK imposes 14-day coronavirus quarantine from June 8
Early indications that scheme could be short-lived, with Priti Patel saying it is to be be kept under review
By Charles Hymas and Gordon Rayner, POLITICAL EDITOR (The Telegraph)
22 May 2020
A 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the UK was described as “ineffective and unenforceable” as the Home Secretary faced a backlash from the travel industry and Tory MPs.
From June 8, anyone arriving in Britain – apart from those on a specific list of exemptions – will be legally required to self-isolate for two weeks or face fines of up to £3,200.
But on Friday night there were signs that the scheme could be short-lived, as Priti Patel said it would be kept under review and she would be working with the travel industry to refine it before it begins.
The Home Secretary also confirmed that “air bridges” between Britain and other countries with a similar or lower coronavirus infection rate are expected to be brought in. Government sources said they would be rebranded as “travel corridors” because they also apply to ferries and the Channel Tunnel.
Critics claimed on Friday night that the system has so many flaws that it would do nothing to prevent a second wave of coronavirus and amounted to a “blunt tool” that could shut down aviation.
Ms Patel said passengers will be expected to fill in forms before they leave their country of origin, specifying the address at which they will be quarantined in the UK, but the only enforcement will be spot checks at airports and a £100 fine if people fail to comply.
Spot checks will also be carried out to make sure people are at the quarantine address given, but the system will rely almost entirely on good faith.
Ireland is exempt, meaning passengers could simply fly to Dublin and then on to the UK to get round quarantine measures. Although Ireland has its own quarantine in place, it is understood this would not stop people transiting through it to get to the UK.
There will also be nothing to stop travellers from using public transport to get to their quarantine address in the UK, meaning they could potentially spread the virus while in transit.
Ms Patel told the daily Downing St press conference: “We expect the vast majority of people to do the right thing and comply with these new requirements… we will review these temporary public health measures every three weeks to ensure they remain the right ones for our road map to recovery.”
Europe’s biggest airline, Ryanair, said it was “strongly opposed to ineffective non-scientific measures such as the UK’s ‘quarantine’, which is completely unenforceable”.
A spokesman for the airline said: “This isolation measure simply does not work unless passengers arriving in international UK airports are detained in airport terminals or hotels for the 14-day period.
“Once these arriving passengers have travelled on the crowded London Underground, or the Heathrow and Gatwick Express, or buses or taxis to their destination, the subsequent quarantine is pointless. If this measure had any basis in science, then the Irish visitors would not and could not be exempt.”
David Davis, a former Tory Brexit secretary, said: “The thing that worries me is how carefully this has been thought through. The timing is odd. Other countries, like Greece, introduced pretty much quarantine arrangements very, very early on and, as a result, Greece is 30 times better off in deaths per million than we are.
“And we’re now in a position where we’re going to say to Greeks coming here: ‘Well, you’re going to have to have 14 days in quarantine’, whereas if I come down from Doncaster, I go through King’s Cross without a stop.”
Tim Alderslade, the chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, said: “Introducing a quarantine at this stage makes no sense and will mean very limited international aviation at best. It is just about the worst thing the Government could do if their aim is to restart the economy.
“Thousands of jobs and the recovery of the UK economy depend on re-establishing air links as soon as possible.”
Passengers wearing face masks make their way through Heathrow Airport
Passengers wearing face masks make their way through Heathrow Airport CREDIT: David Dyson
Karen Dee, the chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said quarantine was a “blunt tool” and could lead to “a prolonged shutdown of aviation”.
She told a committee of MPs that airports wanted internationally-agreed standards that could include thermal checks, masks, hand sanitisers and air bridge proposals.
She said: “We think this would be a much better approach to this because it would be much more risk based and therefore reduce the economic impact, which is going to be huge, but at the same time achieve the safety we are looking for.”
Adam Marshall, the chief executive of the British Chambers of Commerce, agreed with Ms Dee’s proposals and said businesses would be “deeply concerned” by the quarantine because it will “damage international business and investor confidence at a time when it is vital to demonstrate that the UK can open for business safely”.
The Times article also says:
Police sources said that with crime expected to rise as the lockdown was eased, quarantine enforcement was not a priority. “We’ve basically said that this is something they [the UK Border Agency] need to solve and control.”
Ms Patel was asked what effect the quarantine, that will also apply to British nationals, would have on people wanting to book summer holidays.
She said that the public should not be thinking about foreign holidays as all but essential travel was still advised against by the government.
“The advice from government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is you’re not to travel and to please follow the advice,” Ms Patel said.
Asked about the prospect of so-called air bridges to allow free travel to other European countries Ms Patel said she would “look at all options”.
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, suggested that other countries had more to fear from British travellers than the other way round.
• Boris Johnson is prepared to travel to the US to meet Donald Trump next month for the G7. Downing Street said that he would “follow the guidelines” on travel restrictions, including on wearing a face mask, if the summit takes place on June 10-12.
New measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections have been announced by the Home Secretary today.
You will not need to fill in the form or self-isolate for 14 days if you’re travelling to the UK from:
- the Channel Islands
- the Isle of Man
Government guidance on exemptions is at