A few people asked why we have not published anything over the weekend on the proposed quarantine measures for people entering the United Kingdom.
The reason is that we were keen to see the exact documentation first, as sharing media speculation is not hugely helpful. This afternoon the Government published “OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy”. You can download it here.
Here is the text:
“International travel: As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad. Therefore, in order to keep overall levels of infection down and in line with many other countries, the Government will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible.
First, alongside increased information about the UK’s social distancing regime at the border, the Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.
Second, the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.
The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate implementation across the UK. Small exemptions to these measures will be in place to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations. All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures.
These international travel measures will not come into force on 13 May but will be introduced as soon as possible. Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.”
There are a few things here to note:
It does not apply to trips within the Common Travel Area. This includes the Republic of Ireland, which means that you can fly to Dublin and then onto somewhere else if you wish.
There is no mention of the exception for France which we know has been agreed. If there are exceptions for France and Ireland, logically you should include all of the Schengen countries too.
There is an implication in this wording that it does not apply to UK citizens returning, but I accept that this does not match with what has been discussed elsewhere. (EDIT: The Government has confirmed that it does apply to returning UK residents.)
There is no mention here of the fact that rail and ferries are exempt which is what was implied by the Prime Minister last night. If Eurostar was meant to be included, however, it would make the French exemption look odd.