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Monday, Nov 30, 2020

How the UK's 14-day quarantine will work and who is exempt

Most people arriving in the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8 under plans unveiled by the Government today.

At this evening’s Downing Street press conference, Home Secretary Priti Patel said steps must be taken to ‘guard against imported cases’ leading to a deadly second spike of coronavirus.

Anyone breaking the rules could face a £1,000 fine, but some foreign nationals will still be exempt from these new measures.

The Home Secretary added: ‘We will keep these penalties under review and will be unafraid to increase them if that is required.’

Speaking at today’s briefing, Border Force director general Paul Lincoln said: ‘We all look forward to a time when travel is fully back up and running, and when it is Border Force stand ready to provide a warm welcome to the UK.

‘In the meantime it is essential that we use the levers at our disposal to ensure the safety of our communities while still facilitating in the critical trade into this country.’

The two weeks foreign visitors will be required to isolate for covers the incubation period of Covid-19.

How will the 14 day quarantine work?

Border Force say it will be ramping up communications to make sure everyone travelling to the UK is aware of the changes, which come into effect from June 8.

Travellers will be asked to provide their contact details, travel plans and details on the accommodation where they will be self-isolating, using an online form before they make their journey.

Mr Lincoln said: ‘Obtaining people’s contact details, onward travel plans for Public Health England and for the devolved administrations will support the test, track and trace and equivalent devolved administration programmes.

‘The more rapidly we can identify and contact those at risk of infection, the more effectively we can reduce the spread of the virus.’

Any errors on the form may result in travellers being asked to fill out another one or be denied entry to the UK. Spot checks will be carried out by Border Force officers to make sure the details given are accurate.

Penalties for breaching self-isolation rules could result in fines of up to £1,000.

Mr Lincoln added: ‘Border Force officers do reserve the right to refuse entry to any non-British or non-residents who do not follow these regulations. We expect the vast majority of people will take this seriously and do the right thing.

‘We will however take enforcement action against the small minority of people who may disregard these actions and therefore further endanger people’s lives.

‘The advice is quite clear, if you have the virus, of if you are displaying symptoms, or if you have been in contact with somebody with the virus, you should not travel. To do so otherwise is potentially putting people’s lives at risk.’

These measures will be under review every three weeks, to ensure they are effective, necessary and in line with the latest scientific evidence.

Who will be exempt?

In the interest of security and maintaining crucial trade and infrastructure, the 14-day quarantine will not apply to everyone.

The Government is set to publish a more complete list, but among those exempted include road haulage and freight workers and medical professionals travelling to help with the fight against coronavirus.

Anyone moving from within the Common Travel Area, covering Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, will also be spared the 14-day quarantine.

Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working.

Despite previous reports that French nationals would also be exempt from mandatory two-week quarantines, ministers have since scrapped this.

A spokesman for France’s Interior Minister said: ‘We take note of the British government’s decision and we regret it.

‘France is ready to put in place a reciprocal measure as soon as the system comes into force on the British side.’


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