Quarantine measures for new UK arrivals come into force

Passengers arriving into the UK must self-isolate for 14 days, with a £480 fine in Scotland for breaching quarantine.

Quarantine measures for new UK arrivals come into force CC by dannyman
Border: Travellers into UK must self-isolate for a fortnight.

Travellers arriving into Britain will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from Monday under UK-wide measures to guard against a second wave of coronavirus.

All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – will have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details and the address of where they will isolate.

Regulations for Scotland include a £480 blanket fine for anyone who is found to have breached their 14-day quarantine.

People believed to be repeatedly breaching the quarantine can be reported to the procurator fiscal for criminal prosecution, facing penalties of up to £5000.

Border Force officers will be carrying out spot checks with fixed penalty notices starting at £60 for people failing to provide correct information in their locator forms.

That initial fine would come down to £30 if paid within a fortnight but could be escalated for repeat and persistent offenders.

Border Force officers also have the power to refuse entry to any non-resident foreign national who refuses to comply with the regulations.

The fines in Scotland have been set at a lower level to those recently announced by UK home secretary Priti Patel.

Those failing to comply with Border Force in England will face initial fines of £100, while those who flout quarantine will be hit with a £1000 penalty.

The plans have been met with strong criticism from Labour and some Conservative MPs as well as the travel industry.

British Airways has begun legal proceedings over what it calls “unlawful” quarantine measures.

BA’s parent company IAG sent a pre-action letter, which is the first stage in a judicial review, to UK ministers on Friday ahead of the measures coming into effect on Monday.

The letter, seen by The Sunday Times newspaper, argues the restrictions are disproportionate.

The regulations must be reviewed every three weeks, with the first taking place by June 29.

They could be in place for a year, when the legislation expires, unless the UK Government decides to scrap it sooner.

Travellers arriving from within the Common Travel Area – which includes Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands – will not need to self-isolate unless they have arrived in the CTA in the last 14 days.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: “We all want to return to normal as quickly as possible. But this cannot be at the expense of lives.

“The science is clear that if we limit the risk of new cases being brought in from abroad, we can help stop a devastating second wave.

“That is why the measures coming into force today are necessary. They will help control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Border Force director general Paul Lincoln said: “Border Force are prepared and ready for the new measures which are being enacted at the UK border today.

“Our officers are here to keep the public safe, and that includes doing our part to protect the UK against coronavirus.”

Outlining Scotland’s version of the regulations on Sunday, Scottish justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We are, as a country and across the world, continuing to deal with unprecedented challenges that this pandemic brings.

“These public health measures will play an important part in helping to prevent further spread of the disease.

“These steps are aimed at protecting people and ensuring that we limit spread when our own infection rates are falling.

“However, they are temporary and will not be in place any longer than deemed necessary to protect public health – as such, they will be reviewed after three weeks.”

Which? Travel’s editor Rory Boland accused the UK Government of causing “endless confusion among travellers over whether holidays can go ahead” over the last few weeks.

He continued: “Even today, as it ushers in 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals, many consumers are confused as to whether the holiday they already have booked will take place due to the lack of consistent communication from the government.

“Meanwhile, the absence of a definitive date from the Foreign Office on when its travel ban will remain in force until continues to allow travel firms to sell holidays departing in the next few weeks that almost certainly can’t go ahead.

“Not only will those customers not get a holiday, but they may not get their money back either – as some travel firms continue to delay and deny refunds.”