TRAVELLERS flying into Britain – even British citizens – will need to quarantine themselves for 14 days or face a £1000 fine.
The strict new measures were announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday afternoon, as part of the UK Government’s attempts to stop any second wave of coronavirus.
Nicola Sturgeon, who has been involved in “intense” discussions with the UK Government over the measures, said she supported the plans, adding they would stop the disease being “seeded” into communities.
The rules will come in on June 8 and be reviewed every three weeks.
There will be exemptions to the quarantine for road hauliers and medical professionals, and travellers from Ireland and the Channel Islands. Arrivals from France will not be exempt, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
Travellers will be asked to fill in a form with their information, including details of where they’re staying. Officials will then perform spot checks to ensure compliance and fine those who aren’t where they say they are.
The new regulations will also give the UK’s Border Force power to refuse entry to foreign citizens who are not UK residents during border checks.
Speaking at the Downing Street briefing, the Home Secretary said: “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border.
“We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave.
“I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others.
Patel said she recognised “how hard these changes will be for our travel sector, and leisure sectors, who are already struggling through these unprecedented times”.
She said the Government would try “to find new ways to re-open international travel and tourism in a safe and responsible way”.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary described the plan earlier this week as idiotic and unimplementable.
The Home Secretary was also pushed on timing and why the quarantine hadn’t been brought in sooner.
Many other countries already require arriving passengers to enter a 14-day quarantine, including New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and the US.
Patel said the Government was “following the science”.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, Sturgeon said: “We’re an open and welcoming country but as we go into the next phase of dealing with this virus it’s really important to make sure we’re not seeding the virus into the communities.
“We’re trying to suppress it here.”
Sturgeon also used her daily briefing to plead with Scots not to break lockdown measures over the weekend, warning that “taking our foot of the brake” could kibosh plans to ease restrictions next week.
Sturgeon confirmed that phase one of the Scottish Government’s route-map out of lockdown will start on May 28, with Scots then allowed to meet people from outside their own household, sunbathe and take part in some non-contact sports like golf.
The First Minister stressed the lockdown message to “stay at home” remains in place this weekend.
She also reported the deaths of another 24 patients who had tested positive to the virus. That takes the total under that measure to 2245.