Rules announced for foreign arrivals, fine, police force to be used for violations

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LONDON: Arrivals into the UK are now required to self-isolate for two weeks under new government rules, in a bid to prevent a second wave of Covid-19.  All passengers – bar a handful of exemptions – will have to fill out an online locator form giving their contact and travel details, as well as the address of where they will isolate.

People who fail to comply could be fined £1,000 in England, and police will be allowed to use “reasonable force” to make sure they follow the rules. Border Force officers will carry out checks on arrivals and may refuse entry to a non-resident foreign national who refuses to comply with the regulations.

Priti Patel

The plans have been met with strong criticism from opposition parties and some Conservative MPs – as well as the travel industry. British Airways has begun legal proceedings over what it calls the government’s “unlawful” quarantine measures.

A leaked Home Office document seen by The Daily Telegraph reportedly said there was no method for officials to ensure a person’s details are “genuine”. The quarantine 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 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.

Journey details:

This is done by completing and submitting a form before your arrival into the UK. The form cannot be submitted more than 48 hours before you travel.  You’ll need to show your completed form when you arrive at the UK border, either by printing a copy, or showing it on your phone.

The government will use this information to contact you if you or someone you’ve travelled with develops coronavirus symptoms, and to check that you’re self-isolating for the first 14 days after you arrive in the UK.

Under 18′s don’t need to complete a form if they’re travelling with an adult – as long as you will arrive and leave together, stay at the same address and add their details onto your form. 

Self-isolation:

It can take 14 days for Covid-19 symptoms to appear, so this is the minimum amount of time arrivals have been asked to quarantine themselves after their arrival. 

The new rules instruct arrivals to go straight to the place they will self-isolate, and avoid public transport wherever possible. If you have no other option, you should wear a face covering and practice social distancing. 

Those who have a long journey upon arrival can stay overnight in accommodation along the way. You must self-isolate and provide the address of your overnight stop on your public health passenger locator form. You can self isolate in your own home, with friends or family, or in a hotel or other temporary accommodation. 

Punishments:

You may be refused permission to enter the UK (if you are not a British citizen), or fined if you do not to provide your contact details or do not self-isolate when you arrive in the UK from Monday, June 8.  Failure to fill out contact details could result in a £100 fine. 

In England, if you do not self-isolate, you can be fined £1,000. If you do not provide an accurate contact detail declaration – or do not update your contact detail form in the limited circumstances where you need to move to another place to self-isolate – you can be fined up to £3,200.

Exemption: 

You do not need to complete the form or self-isolate if you’re travelling from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, and you were there for 14 days previously. 

There is also an extensive list of people who work specific essential jobs or perform certain roles that do not have to follow the new rules.  They include visiting diplomats and their families, lorry drivers and air or Eurostar crew. The full list can be found on the government’s website here.