HOT OFF THE WIRE

Coronavirus: UK arrivals could face £1,000 fines if they break quarantine

Coronavirus: UK arrivals could face £1,000 fines if they break quarantine

  • 22 May 2020
  • comments
Related Topics
  • Coronavirus pandemic
Image copyright Getty Images

Anyone arriving in the UK from abroad could be fined £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days, the government is expected to announce.

Under the plans, health officials would be able to carry out spot checks to check whether people were complying.

The new rules, which will also apply to British people returning from abroad, are not expected to come into force until next month.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will give more details at the daily briefing.

As part of the plans, which are aimed at guarding against a second wave of coronavirus infections, all arrivals would be asked to fill in a form with their contact information.

Road hauliers and medical officials would be exempt, as well as those arriving from the Republic of Ireland.

However, people travelling from France will not be exempt, the government has previously confirmed, after it was initially suggested otherwise.

  • What do I need to know if I decide to fly?
  • How coronavirus is driving a revolution in travel
  • Will I be able to go on holiday this year?
  • How coronavirus has impacted carbon emissions

Any passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train would need to provide UK Border Force officials with an address where they will self-isolate, otherwise accommodation will be arranged by the government.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: "The reality is we are saying to people if you are going to go abroad you need to look at the fact you may well need to do quarantine when you come back."

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth backed the plans, but said there were "lots of questions as to why we didn't do this sooner".

He added: "I would urge the government to get on with it and give us the details about how it's going to work in practice."

Airlines have already warned quarantine measures could make an already critical situation worse for them, as air travel has plummeted by as much as 99% due to the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary described the plan to quarantine travellers as "idiotic" and "unimplementable", while trade body Airlines UK said it "would effectively kill" international travel to and from Britain.

Number 10 previously said the measure would be reviewed every three weeks once it is introduced.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWill thermal cameras help at airports?

The government currently recommends international travel only when absolutely necessary, and nobody should travel if they display any coronavirus symptoms.

On Thursday, easyJet said it will resume some flights on 15 June, with all passengers and cabin crew told to wear face masks.

The initial schedule will include domestic routes across the UK and France.

  • TRAVEL: Can I get a holiday refund?
  • FACE MASKS: Should I be wearing one?
  • LOOK-UP TOOL: How many cases in your area?
  • GLOBAL SPREAD: Tracking the pandemic
  • A SIMPLE GUIDE: What are the symptoms?

Meanwhile, the scientific advice given to the government which informed plans to send some pupils in England back to school will be published later.

It comes after more than 35 councils warned that not all of their primary schools will be ready to reopen on 1 June.

Teaching union NASUWT previously said it was "unconvinced" about the plans to allow children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Schools have been closed for most pupils since March

Schools in Wales will not reopen on 1 June, while those in Scotland and Northern Ireland may not restart before the summer holidays.

On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a new coronavirus test that gives results in 20 minutes is being trialled.

The swab test - which would show whether someone currently has the virus - does not need to be sent to a lab.

He also said more than 10 million antibody tests - that check if someone has had the virus in the past - will begin to be rolled out next week.

Latest figures show 36,042 people with the virus have died in the UK.

In other developments:

  • A scientific adviser to the government has said he would have liked ministers to have acted "a week or two weeks earlier" in the virus pandemic
  • UK scientists are to begin testing a treatment that it is hoped could counter the effects of Covid-19 in the most seriously ill patients
  • Children and older adults are to be included in the second phase of vaccine trials being run by the University of Oxford
  • The government borrowed £62.1bn in April, the highest monthly figure on record, underlining the impact of the outbreak
  • Homeowners struggling financially will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or cut payments
  • Celebrities including baker Nadiya Hussain have urged Muslims to celebrate Eid from home this weekend
  • An online book of remembrance to commemorate those who have died from coronavirus has been organised by St Paul's Cathedral
  • CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL: “Science has never moved so quickly”
  • 90s NOSTALGIA: 24 tracks to take you into the weekend