THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced new rules for international arrivals to the UK which will come into force from June 8, 2020, including a 14 day quarantine period for all those arriving from overseas. There is a limited list of exemptions, but for the majority of travelers, itineraries will now have to take into account the new rules.
The Home Office confirmed that from June 8, the following rules apply:
• All arriving passengers will be required to fill out a 'Contacr locator form' to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with develops the disease.
• Passengers arriving in the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and could be contacted regularly throughout this period to ensure compliance.
• Anyone failing to comply with the mandatory conditions may face enforcement action. A breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England or potential prosecution and unlimited fine. The level of fine could increase if the risk of infection from abroad increases. The Devolved Administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches.
• Border Force will undertake checks at the border and may refuse entry to any non-British citizen who refuses to comply with these regulations and isn’t resident in the UK. Failure to complete the form is also punishable by a £100 fixed penalty notice. Public health authorities will conduct random checks in England to ensure compliance with self-isolation requirements. Removal from the country would be considered as a last resort for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with these public health measures.
Explaining the new rules, Home Secretary Patel said "As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border. We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave. I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others."
The Home Office's Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor John Aston, added that "the spread of the virus within the UK is now lessening. We have been successful in getting the reproduction number R – the average number of new people infected by one infected person – below 1. As the number of infections within the UK drops, we must now manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from elsewhere."
International arrivals will also be encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 App at the border, which is intended to help trace contact between carriers and others who may have been exposed to the virus.
So far, the Government has confirmed several criteria for exemption from the 14 day rules. These include: road haulage and freight workers; medical professionals who are 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; and Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working.
The Government say that they will review the new measures every three weeks, and will continue to work with organizations to ensure exemptions are appropriate.
If you are planning on traveling to the UK, or planning a trip out of the UK which will involve a return, keep an eye on the Government Coronavirus Guidance to remain up to date on how the rules could affect your travel arrangements.