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UK 14-day arrivals quarantine – the FACTS, from the official documentation

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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:

UK 14-day arrivals quarantine - the FACTS

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.

Comments (94)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    No10 has confirmed that it DOES apply to rail and ferry – it was sloppy wording in his speech saying “by air”, but was later clarified.

  • ChrisBCN says:

    Thanks for this article.

    I’m not sure that the document helps a great deal though!

  • Riku says:

    Where is the implication that it does not apply to UK citizens returning to the UK? These are precisely the kind of people who should be quarantined. If it’s “international travellers” then that implies to me ANYONE who’s travelled across an international border.
    Living in Helsinki we barred entry to non-citizens/residents about SIX WEEKS AGO, Finns returning were told to self isolate for two weeks and they closed the airport train station and restricted the airport bus route to domestic passengers or airport staff only. And in the UK they are planning to implement a much weaker form of this in three weeks time ??

    • Craig says:

      A very lazy wording; is it ‘travellers returning from international destinations’ or ‘travelling international citizens’?

  • Samuel says:

    So if I take a coach from Brussels (passing through France), do I get exempted? Are non-citizen residents allowed to return?

    • abc says:

      Surely non-citizen residents are allowed to return, they’ll just need to quarantine.

  • abc says:

    I don’t think that France being exempt means the whole Schengen area will be exempt: The UK would want to have reciprocity. It makes sense for France and the UK to agree an exception, as they are (kind of) neighbors and have a similar level of infection. Maybe they’ll add Belgium as well given the direct train connection. I highly doubt Germany (who already require everyone to quarantine, without exceptions, though there is discussion of allowing exception for some neighbouring countries such as Austria) – and certainly not countries with hardly any infections, such as Greece – will want people from the UK to come in without quarantine until infections decrease majorly, which won’t be for several months.

    • Shacker says:

      I think Greece will be more open to having tourists visit sooner rather than later

  • Novice says:

    This is too vague hence my belief we are led by a buffoon and I sincerely apologise to the primate species I am borrowing the name from. 😂

    • sayling says:

      Are you really expecting hard dates and hard measures to be announced now? Dates are very much dependent on two things – resources to implement changes required and the rate of infection/ death.

      As the latter is largely determined by the actions of the public, how can dates be given now?

      • G-bit says:

        How has it taken so long to get to this stage. Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Finland have had this in place for weeks, alongside contact tracing apps and testing for anyone with symptoms. These things, still at the ideas stage in the UK, seem to have been implemented in other countries weeks and months ago. As a consequence their citizens and economies have been better protecting.

        • Phillip says:

          Because when the government decided that herd immunity was no longer their preferred option, the community infection rates were so high, any imported cases were not going to make a difference! Now that the rate has decreased, imported cases will make a difference!

          • Simon says:

            Someone talking sense. Few people actually have any positive suggestions. Not just on travel but across the board. Do people think the Scientists and advisors have not discussed all of this at length. And some? Or are we all coming up with ideas that they never considered?? Seriously I don’t doubt mistakes have been made, some we don’t even know yet. But I for one am glad I’m not making the decisions. Every decision is criticised by some group or other.

          • Novice says:

            😂 @ Lockdown larry

            So true.

      • Blindman says:

        It depends on the Muppets who have been breaking the rules, so not a fixed date.

        If infection increases then the next stage won’t be coming soons”

        • BrightonReader says:

          you mean WHEN infection increases.

          There is no ‘if’ about it.

    • Darren says:

      Buffoon has been used for sometime and has nothing to do with a primate

  • tom says:

    Lol.. Everybody living in England know they will have ZERO checks on people isolating. What they gonna do? Visit my residence- ring my doorbell and if not answer break a window to check if im inside? Maybe im sleeping, upstairs or in garden and not answering door. Then what?

    They don’t even have enough police to keep the regular safety or to check traffic etc. They def don’t have people to go by all travellers homes to see what they are upto 😀


    • Simon says:

      What would you suggest as a viable alternative? It’s easy to criticise, much harder to come up with a credible workable alternative.

      • Novice says:

        Are you for real?

        If you’re so sure that the govt is making all decisions based on data etc then I ask you the supposed expert; why did the government redact entire pages of documents from Sage? I’m a scientific and logical person. I want to see the reports.

        We are truly being led by liars who are trying to save their **** because they know they haven’t got a clue.

        At this point I think my 5 yrs old niece might have come up with better proposals than the crap bojo is dishing out.

        If he’s truly following science, why redact the scientists’ advice docs? I’m miffed about not seeing it.

      • Novice says:

        Btw my rant is for @Simon as I’m sure you’ve gathered. 😂

  • Andrew says:

    Boris will be giving a further statement and answering public questions at 7pm on BBC1 – stay tuned for more!

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