U.K. to place travelers under mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival; businesses remain concerned about policy’s effects on economy
05/24/2020 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

The U.K. plans to implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international travelers, which has received backlash from businesses, including the aviation sector, who are fearful that this will devastate their industry. Some business groups have even branded the policy as “isolationist.”

The policy was introduced by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said that travelers who violate quarantine can face a fine of 1,000 pounds (approximately $1,200).

“I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures,” said Patel. “But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others.”

Policy is “isolationist” and will further ruin British economy, said business groups

Critics from the U.K.'s business sector have questioned why, among other things, the quarantine measures were introduced so late into the pandemic. At the beginning of the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus across the U.K., only travelers coming from China and northern Italy were told to isolate for 14 days.

Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, an Irish low-cost carrier, said that the 14-day quarantine would be “unenforceable and unpoliceable” and that most international travelers will probably ignore it. (Related: UK's scientific adviser orders people to go back to work, says people “will get the virus” no matter what.)

Tim Alderslade, CEO of Airlines UK, the trade body for all of the country's registered airlines, said that introducing a quarantine this late into the pandemic makes no sense and will greatly affect the amount of international travel coming into Britain.


The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a group that represents travel agents and tour operators in the U.K., an industry that has already been devastated by the pandemic, said that a mandatory 14-day quarantine may deter a lot of potential tourists from visiting the country. This, in turn, will have an extremely damaging effect on industries that are dependent on tourism, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of jobs employed by these businesses.

Instead of a mandatory quarantine, business groups are insisting that the government should seek international agreements with different nations. The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not ruled this out.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has championed the idea of creating “air bridges,” which would allow the U.K. to seek out bilateral agreements with countries that have a low incidence of COVID-19, so that any quarantine restrictions for travelers coming into Britain from those countries may be waived. This idea has been met positively by France.

Patel, for her part, has not ruled out this idea and said that the government will look at all options.

When asked about the backlash and the label of “isolationist” at a press conference Friday, Patel defended the measures by saying “We are not closing our borders, and I think people should recognize that.”

Listen to the Health Ranger Report with Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how different reopening plans and experiments can tell the world what works.

How the U.K.'s new mandatory quarantine works

The mandatory quarantine policy will begin on June 8. It will affect anybody coming into the U.K. by plane, ferry or train.

Upon a traveler's arrival into the country, they will be asked to fill out a form where they have to put down their contact information and an address where they will be staying for the remainder of their two-week quarantine.

If the aforementioned traveler has nowhere to stay, accommodation will be provided by the government, which has self-isolation facilities prepared for this occasion.

Government health officials will be tasked with performing spot checks to make sure the traveler is complying with the directive. The new arrivals will also be encouraged to download a contact tracing app that Johnson's government is developing, once it becomes available.

Currently, exemptions to the quarantine are granted for freight drivers, agricultural workers who will be asked to self-isolate on the property they are working, health professionals and travelers from Ireland – the only other sovereign country that shares a land border with the U.K. – the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Prime Minister Johnson's government will also be reviewing the mandatory quarantine's effects every three weeks.

Head over to Pandemic.news for the latest updates on lockdown measures in the U.K. and the rest of the world.

Sources include:


TheGuardian.com 1


TheGuardian.com 2

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