People arriving in the UK will be fined £1,000 if they refuse to obey a new two-week quarantine rule that will be rolled out to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
Home secretary Priti Patel today confirmed that from 8 June anyone arriving in the country will be told to self-isolate for 14 days.
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Passengers will be made to give contact and address details and authorities will carry out spot checks to ensure compliance.
Anyone to refuses to comply with the rules could be refused entry to the country, while those caught flouting quarantine face a £1,000 fine.
However, some passengers will be exempted from the measures, including people arriving from Ireland, medical professionals tackling Covid-19, foreign officials and freight workers.
Patel said the travel restrictions were intended to prevent a “devastating” second wave of Covid-19 infections as the government begins to ease the domestic lockdown.
Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, the home secretary said it was the most effective time to take the action as “imported cases could begin to pose a larger and increased threat”.
“Now we are past the peak of this virus, we must guard against imported cases triggering a resurgence of this deadly disease,” she said.
The move will come as an added blow to the UK’s travel and leisure sectors, which have already been roiled by the coronavirus lockdown.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, slammed the new rules, saying it “looked like the worst sort of arrogant British exceptionalism”.
“This sort of thing does not create or sustain a global reputation, nor the impression of re-opening for business,” he said.
“Businesses in many sectors that depend upon aviation will this evening be baffled why the government and its advisors have chosen this approach, at this time.”
Adam Tyndall, programme director at London First, branded the move an “indiscriminate response to an increasingly nuanced situation”.
“The UK is a world leader in aviation and should be forging international agreements between low-risk countries,” he said.
“Getting back to some limited and controlled form of air travel will be critical to supporting the UK economy.”
Patel said the government will review the quarantine measures every three weeks.