- All travellers coming into Britain will be quarantined for two weeks to prevent a second peak of infections
- Boris Johnson will announce the measure on Sunday and it will come into effect from beginning of June
- Travellers will need to fill in a digital form and provide an address at which they will self-isolate for 14 days
- People coming from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands will be exempt, as will lorry drivers
- Other policies include encouraging staff to cycle in to work and asking bosses to enforce face coverings
- Schools in England could reopen in June, although Welsh First Minister said he would not allow this in Wales
All arrivals in the UK – including returning Britons – will be quarantined for two weeks and face £1,000 fines or deportation if they fail to do so under dramatic plans that could effectively suspend foreign travel for the length of the coronavirus crisis.
The controversial move will be introduced from June, however key workers will be exempt, as will travellers from Ireland. It is not clear how the measure will work in practice and who would be categorised as ‘key workers’ and therefore be excused from the requirement.
Ministers also faced questions about why a similar measure had not been put into place earlier, with 15,000 travellers arriving at UK airports every day in April with no screening, including from virus hotspots like China and the USA.
Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘So we’re doing this now, three months after the @WHO declared COVID-19 a global health emergency.. after we’ve let 100s of 1000s fly in from corona-ravaged countries with no checks… & after 55k+ people have already died in the UK? What a sick joke.’
Meanwhile, the travel industry reacted with horror at the news, with one company boss warning it could ‘kill it off completely’. Industry group Airlines UK said the plan, reported by The Times, would ‘effectively end international travel to and from the UK’ and cause ‘immeasurable damage’ to the aviation industry and wider economy.
The news will have a huge impact on international companies and figures in showbusiness, who face having to choose whether to base themselves at home or abroad. A worker at a leading international bank in London today told MailOnline it would be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for face-to-face business meetings with overseas contacts as staff will not be able to fly abroad.
Boris Johnson will say tomorrow that passengers including Britons arriving at UK ports and airports from all countries except Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man must fill in a digital form telling officials where they intend to self-isolate. Lorry drivers and other key workers will be exempt.
It is not clear where this data would be stored or exactly how the programme would be enforced, although it will include spot checks on addresses and those found breaking the rules face fines of £1000. Tourism groups want the measure to be reviewed every week to check its effectiveness, although it is likely to remain in place until early autumn or late summer.
Countries including Australia, Singapore and New Zealand has already introduced quarantines. France will bring one in on Monday, although travellers from Briton and countries inside the EU’s Schengen zone will be exempt.
Reacting to the plan, Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told BBC Breakfast: ‘It’s something that we’ve been asking ministers to clarify for weeks now. I raised it with the minister for the fifth time on Thursday because it’s caused real confusion. At the moment we’ve got a lot of Britons who are still stranded abroad.
Authorities will carry out spot checks and those found to be breaking the rules are to face fines of up to £1,000 or even deportation (pictured, airline passengers wearing face masks are seen at Heathrow Airport)