Fines and spot checks: How the UK’s 14-day travel quarantine will work

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Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to give further details of how the 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK will work later today.

This is what we know so far:

Why is the quarantine being introduced?

The government wants to limit the amount of contact international travellers, including British people returning from overseas, have with other people when they first arrive in the UK from abroad.

The prevalence of coronavirus varies hugely around the world, with many countries – including the US – still in earlier stages of their outbreaks and reporting thousands of new COVID-19 cases.

Italy will allow travel in and out of the country from 3 June
Image: Holidays to places like Italy may not be as appealing if you have to quarantine when you get home

When will it start?

The policy was outlined by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his televised address on 10 May.

More from Covid-19

No specific date has been given yet, but it is not expected to start in airports until early June.

It will affect anyone arriving by plane, train or ferry.

The Eurostar is still operating a reduced service but there are restrictions on who can travel
Image: The rules will also apply to those travelling by rail

How is it going to be enforced?

Travellers will be asked to fill in a form on arrival, which will include their contact information and an address where they will have to remain for two weeks.

If the traveller does not have somewhere to stay, accommodation will be arranged by the government.

Health officials will perform spot checks to ensure compliance with the measures and fines of up to £1,000 will be given.

The government will review the measures every three weeks.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye outlines what airports are doing to ensure people do not transmit the virus.
Heathrow chief outlines what airports are doing to ensure people do not transmit virus

Who is exempt?

Exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials will apply, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected.

People arriving from France will not be exempt, following confusion earlier this week.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has backed calls for “air bridges” to be created.

This would see agreements sought with countries with low R numbers – the average number of people someone with the virus infects – to let passengers travel between them without going into quarantine.

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Are we even allowed to travel internationally?

The government is recommending only travelling internationally if it is essential.

Social distancing measures must be followed during your journey and a face covering can be worn as a precaution, especially when indoors, in a crowded area.

The Foreign Office also warns that travellers must be aware that countries may restrict travel and close their borders without notice if the outbreak worsens.

Holidays may not be as appealing for people this summer if they have to stay at home for 14 days upon their return.

An October bank holiday has been suggested as a way to help the tourism industry
Image: Holidays in the UK may be popular this year

What are other countries doing?

Many other countries already require arriving passengers to enter a 14-day quarantine, including New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and the US.

This is despite the World Health Organisation saying in February that measures which “significantly interfere” with international travel “may only be justified at the beginning of an outbreak”.

However, some European nations have indicated they would like to start welcoming visitors again soon.

Among them are Spain and Italy, which would like to open their borders in June if safe to do so.

Michael O'Leary
Ryanair boss brands quarantine ‘idiotic’

What is the reaction from the travel industry?

The move has angered many travel businesses keen to return to some sense of normality, having having seen a dramatic fall in customers and bookings during the pandemic.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary earlier this week branded the plan “idiotic” and “unimplementable”.

Trade body Airlines UK has previously said a quarantine “would effectively kill” international travel to and from Britain.

Coronavirus: How the UK’s 14-day travel quarantine will work

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to give further details of how the 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK will work later today. This is what we know so far: Why is the quarantine being introduced?

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