Details of the UK’s quarantine requirements have been revealed today by Home Secretary Priti Patel. From June 8th, all arrivals will have to quarantine for 14 days, risking fines of up to £1,000 ($1,218) for non-compliance. While some will be exempted, this will affect the majority of arrivals to the UK.
How will the quarantine work?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the plan to introduce a quarantine in a briefing last week. Today, Home Secretary Priti Patel has revealed the full extent of the move and what it will entail.
According to her announcement, all arrivals into the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, starting June 8th. She claims this will “reduce the risk of cases crossing our border.”
Those arriving in the UK will be required to fill out an online locator form to provide full details of where they will spend their 14 days of isolation. Refusal to fill in the form will invoke a fine of £100 ($122) and could see the UK Border Force refusing entry to those who do not comply.
In the situation where the arrival does not have a suitable facility in which to spend their quarantine, they will be required to spend the 14 days in “facilities arranged by the government.” Spot checks will be carried out, and those breaching the rules will be fined up to £1,000 ($1,218).
Within the plan, there are some exemptions, including lorry drivers, seasonal farmworkers, and health professionals involved in the fight against COVID-19. There will also be exemptions for those traveling from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
It was hoped that some ‘air bridges’ would be included, allowing tourists to travel from low infection rate countries to the UK without quarantine. However, the government said that, at least initially, these were not being included.
The measure will be reviewed every three weeks after it begins.
Criticism by the aviation industry
As expected, the aviation industry is not in support of the quarantine plans. With a number of UK airlines, including easyJet, gearing up to restart flights, the implementation of a two-week quarantine will make it even more difficult for airlines to fill their planes.
Heathrow’s chief executive John Holland-Kaye previously said that the plan would “kill off aviation,” stating to Sky News that,
“Aviation is the lifeblood of the UK economy. All those manufacturers who want to get up and running will rely on the supply chain we’re bringing in as well as the exports we take all over the world.
“Equally, we have a tourism industry in the UK that relies on tourists coming into the UK, and unless we can get those people flying in from safe countries, we can’t get the hotels and the restaurants and so on restarted.
“We risk having, without a plan, a very extended period without flying, and we risk having a health crisis becoming an unemployment crisis.”
He suggested that more countries should be opened up to, including Australia, which has managed to achieve a very low level of the coronavirus.
Virgin Atlantic, which is planning job cuts of around 3,000 workers, has previously said that this quarantine would prevent it from restarting flights until at least August. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has called the plan “bonkers,” suggesting that it would be impossible to police.
Airlines UK, a trade body representing British airlines, has said that it makes no sense to invoke quarantine at this late stage, and that it will be incredibly harmful to aviation. It told Sky News,
“It is just about the worst thing government could do if their aim is to restart the economy.”
Do you think the quarantine is a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.