The United Kingdom just announced their next steps towards re-opening the country to international visitors. The news is not encouraging for most travelers. The UK will mandate a 14-day period of quarantine for anyone that lands on British soil in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. In comparison, many other nations are trying to revive their tourism industries and economies. Travelers who violate the quarantine could face up to a £1,000 fine. In fact, some actions could result in unlimited fines. These new measures introduced will be for people arriving at borders across the UK; be it land, sea, or air.
UK Mandates Travel Quarantine – New Normal, Policies & Penalties
Contact locator form – All arriving passengers will be required to complete this form in 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.
Self-isolation – 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.
Enforcement – Anyone failing to comply with the mandatory conditions may face enforcement action. A breach of self-isolation would be punishable with a £1,000 (~$1,217 USD) 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.
Spot checks – 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 (~ $122 USD) fixed penalty notice. Public health authorities will conduct random checks in England to ensure compliance with self-isolation requirements.
UK’s Reopening Plans and the ‘New Normal’
This recent blanket decision by the UK government is especially concerning given that the home secretary has still not published the evidence upon which the UK government is basing its policies.
Travelers from countries with low coronavirus infection rates could be able to travel to the UK via so-called “air bridges.” This would come after an initial blanket quarantine as proposed by the transport secretary. This prompted calls for clarity over the government’s confusing approach to the border.
You can review the full plans from the UK Government here.
Is the UK Closed for Business?
"We are not closing our borders and people need to recognise that" says Home Secretary, Priti Patel.
— Global Analytica (@AnalyticaGlobal) May 22, 2020
“We are not closing our borders and people need to recognise that” says Home Secretary, Priti Patel. I’m not sure travelers looking at these new border controls will see it that way. It has the end result of closed borders to an overwhelming population of would-be visitors.
Even transiting passengers would be required to quarantine for 14 days. Those passengers transiting onto connecting flights are not segregated from those with destinations inside the UK. All arriving passengers are subject to the same requirements.
This resembles the strategy taken by the governor of Hawaii with his mandatory 14-day quarantine for tourists. That has resulted in more than a 98% drop in visitors to the 50th state and resulted in many arrests of visitors ‘testing’ the resolve of Hawaii’s government.
Virgin Atlantic announced that it will delay resuming flights until at least August this year due to the new government plans.There are many other destinations to where travelers can begin planning their trips. We are already seeing interest in travel picking up – see Post Coronavirus Study: Will Airline Prices Go Up?
Meanwhile, Spain announced that they will be opening their border to foreign tourists in July.
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