Travellers told to endure 14-day quarantine in the UK or face £1,000 fines
The UK Government has sprung its 14-day quarantine measure into action, at long last, by imposing up to £1,000 fines onto those who refuse to comply.
Health officials have allegedly been drafted in to perform spot checks on all the people who enter the UK, including British Citizens, from the start of June. Travellers and visitors will be required to share their contact details under the new scheme and will be monitored to see if they are adhering to self-isolation rules.
Anyone who fails to self-isolate will be met with a fine of up to £1,000.
The idea is that the mandatory quarantine measures will allow the UK to get to grips with the spread of the COVID-19 virus. So far, the UK is considered to be one of the worst countries in terms of the COVID-19 mortality and transmission rate, if not the worst affected across the entire continent. The Home Office is sure to suffer an embarrassing setback if the UK continues to spiral at the rate it has going in the past few weeks.
The UK is considered to be one of the worst countries in terms of the COVID-19 mortality and transmission rate, if not the worst affected across the entire continent
The new policy will now ensure anyone travelling into the UK by plane, ferry or train will need to provide UK Border Force officials with an address where they could self-isolate, or else the Government will arrange suitable accommodation for them.
However, the policy doesn’t apply to everyone. Irish nationals travelling to the UK via the Common Travel Area, for example, won’t need to abide by the self-isolation requirement while road hauliers and medical officials will also benefit from an exception to the 14-day quarantine rule.
There are also concerns that the implementation of forced quarantine has come in too little too late. Since the outbreak first begun in China in January, the UK has been markedly slow in attempting to curb the spread of infection. For months, travellers have been able to come and go from the UK as normal, undoubtedly bringing and spreading the virus as they do so.
The Home Office is sure to suffer an embarrassing setback if the UK continues to spiral at the rate it has going in the past few weeks.
Other countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and the US have long been quarantining arrivals. New Zealand, in particular, took aggressive and immediate action, closing borders, grounding flights and rolling out lockdown straight away. The country is now considered a global success story with only 21 people dying from COVID-19 in total.
Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said that he supported the new measures but similarly queried that there were “lots of questions as to why we didn’t do this sooner”.
Not everyone is pleased about the new plan with the aviation industry in particular blasting the quarantine requirement.
Ryanair chief, Michael O’Leary described the plan as “idiotic” and “unimplementable”. Virgin Atlantic did note that, although “public health must come first” the 14-day quarantine period “will prevent flights from resuming.”
A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told Sky News: “We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won’t be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest.
“We know that as the COVID-19 crisis subsides, air travel will be a vital enabler of the UK’s economic recovery.
“Therefore, we are calling for a multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, which will allow for a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses.”
The initiative does seem slightly out of step with the rest of the UK. It is particularly pertinent that as the 14-day quarantine rule will be implemented, nursery, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children will begin going back to school.