LONDON: The UK is planning to bring in compulsory 14-day quarantine for all travellers arriving in the country from any part of the world, except the Republic of Ireland, as part of measures to track the spread of coronavirus, according to UK media reports.
The new restriction, which means travellers including Britons arriving in the UK would have to self-isolate at a private residence and fined up to 1,000 pounds or deported for flouting the rules, is expected to take effect at the end of this month.
According to The Times’, the quarantine will form part of the announcements when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a televised address to the nation on Sunday in relation to the COVID-19 lockdown.
He has vowed to move with maximum caution as he reopens the economy by lifting some of the social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders next week, enabling people to exercise more than once a day and visit garden centres.
These measures will help protect the British public and reduce the transmission of the virus as we move into the next phase of our response, the newspaper quoted a government source as saying.
Industry body Airlines UK has warned that the quarantine policy needed “a credible exit plan” and should be reviewed weekly.
“We need to see the details of what they are proposing,” said Airlines UK, which represents British Airways, EasyJet and other UK-based airlines, in a statement.
UK Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst is expected to clarify the policy to airline and airport representatives in a conference call this weekend.
Karen Dee from the Airport Operators Association, which represents most UK airports, said the measure should be applied “on a selective basis following the science” and “the economic impact on key sectors should be mitigated”.
The British government has faced some criticism for allowing commercial flights into Britain without requiring passengers to be quarantined or face temperature checks.
Last month, it was revealed that about 15,000 were arriving each day.
Ministers have said that making such a move earlier would not have made a difference because of the prevalence of the virus in the country.
They believe a tougher approach at airports is required only now as the R’ rate of transmission of the deadly virus has fallen in recent weeks.
Among some of the other steps being discussed within government, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will encourage the British public to continue to work from home if they can, while those who need to travel will be encouraged to walk or cycle to avoid crowding on public transport.
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