The UK is drawing up strict quarantine plans to deal with incoming international travellers, though the government has suggested rules could be relaxed for certain countries.
Incoming travellers will be quarantined
As of early June, quarantine restrictions will apply for international travellers arriving in the UK.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps told MPs a “blanket situation” will be imposed initially, though there are discussions taking place about how the rules might be relaxed for countries with low Covid-19 rates.
Though the details are still being worked out, we know that travellers arriving from overseas will be required to quarantine for 14 days when they enter the UK.
Travellers can self-isolate in accommodation of their choosing, but the UK has said it will provide some form of accommodation (presumably extremely basic) if necessary.
Press reports suggest there could be high financial penalties for those who flout the rules, which are expected to apply to both UK citizens and foreign nationals.
One MP, Huw Merriman, asked Mr Shapps to “consider air bridges so that those entering the UK from countries where the infection rate is below the rate of one would not be subject to quarantine” to “boost confidence in aviation travel and target safety where it’s most needed.”
The transport secretary said:
“Final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon and come in early next month. It is the case we should consider further improvements – for example, things like air bridges enabling people from other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country. So those are active discussions but will go beyond what will initially be a blanket situation.”
UK’s struggling aviation sector
Mr Shapps also confirmed that more than 46,000 aviation staff have been furloughed due to the coronavirus crisis.
Asked to bring in an “aviation support package” for the industry, the minister said:
“There are 43,500 furloughed staff right now from the airlines alone, another 2,600 from airports, and I am very acutely aware of the job losses and proposed job losses for which we’re very concerned. It is true to say, of course, airlines and aviation in general is facing a particularly hard time – first into this crisis and with quite a long tail, we think, to come out of it.”
The UK is obviously keen to limit its exposure to the coronavirus, and hopes to limit its spread with the introduction of new quarantine restrictions for incoming travellers.
The suggestion that some countries with low infection rates may be exempt from the rules will give travellers some hope of a summer holiday this year, and a number of EU countries (for example) have already indicated their willingness to resume tourism soon.
What do you make of the UK’s plans?