After political debates as well as protests, it seems that the Arrivals into the United Kingdom Quarantine programme has finally gone live.
This will apply to all arrivals into the United Kingdom, be it by aircraft, ferry or train. It applies to both UK Nationals and visitors.
On arrival, passengers will be required to provide an address where they will self-isolating for 14 days. This has to be completed on an official form – and there’s a £100 fine for failing to complete the form with these details. The form is also online at https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/public-health-passenger-locator-form.
During self-isolation, there will be surprise check-up visits to ensure arrivals are following the rules. If you’re arriving and residing in England, there is a fine of up to £1000 for failing to self-isolate.
Once clear of immigration there are some rules:
- You are expected to drive to your destination where possible. Once there, you must not use public transport or taxis.
- You must not go to work, school or other public areas. Visitors are forbidden, except for essential support.
- You must not go out for food or essential supplies, where you can rely on others.
- If you have no address of arrival, the government will arrange accommodation at the traveller’s expense.
The list of exceptions is limited for those of you who are needing to travel. These include:
- Arrivals coming directly from Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.
- Road haulage/freight workers.
- Medical and care professionals providing essential healthcare.
- Passengers in transit providing if they do not pass through border control.
- Seasonal agricultural workers if they self-isolate where they are working.
How long is this lasting?
The measures will be reviewed in late June, three weeks after their introduction.
Full details of the programme are at https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control
The industry isn’t happy
There have been multiple protests from the travel industry concerning this move, with the travel industry warning that the mandatory two-week self-isolation period will deter visitors. British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair have objected – and have written to Procurator, as a precursor to taking legal action against the government.
This idea of air-bridge between other countries has been raised, but so far, these remain in discussion stages, with no confirmed movement on them
Opinion: Closing the door after the horse has long bolted
I wrote a few weeks ago this policy was a total omnishambles. I maintain this would have been of benefit in early March when COVID-19 began to menace the country. This needed to be coupled with contact tracing and testing on arrival.
Which never happened.
There is still no test on arrival, with Heathrow implementing its temperature control test (outside any government advice).
For now, it seems we have to go through this omnishambles and see what happens next.
And see if the Her Majesties Government climbs down in some way that has a little face-saving for any side.
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