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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:

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.

UK 14-day arrivals quarantine - the FACTS

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 (95)

  • letBAgonesbe says:

    I think what it will be is that the EU will agree that people within the EU can travel.

    The UK will be able to participate in this.
    The government will decide not to.

    (It is like I can predict that if the lockdown in England is 2 months, in Scotland it will be either 1 month and 29 days or 2 months and 1 day)

  • MT says:

    Does it mention anything about transit rules? I hope transit is still allowed, it will really help the British airlines

  • Oli says:

    What people are missing in the comments is that as France controls its borders, people coming from France into the UK won’t have travelled from elsewhere than France. Entry to France is allowed at the moment for only restricted circumstances, for example returning to a principal residence. A form has to be filled on arrival: https://uk.ambafrance.org/COVID-19-transport-to-France

    It is not possible to fly from anywhere to France and then go to the UK, as entry to France would not be allowed in the first place.

    • Marcw says:

      Reread this comment on Wednesday.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      France will only introduce a quarantine for those outside of the EEA and UK.

    • Louie says:

      The form you link to allows travel for UK/EU “Individuals transiting through France to reach their residence, accompanied by their spouse and children”.

  • pauldb says:

    This seems to me like getting in there first. Don’t want Germany to bar UK citizens on the basis our peak dragged on. Now if they’re not interested in reciprocal free access, we never wanted to play with their ball anyway.

  • Jack says:

    With only ~6,000 arrivals at Heathrow per day these days, and an aim of capacity of 200,000 swab tests a day at the end of the month, I can’t be the only one curious why they’re bringing in quarantine this late in the day when by the time it starts, we’ll have capacity to test everyone?

  • insider says:

    Clear as mud

  • The Streets says:

    Put a gps wrist tag on all newcomers to make sure they isolate for 14 days and fine them if they move

  • Riccatti says:

    At this stage testing all arrivals will be by far the effective measure.

    Medical solution to an infection problem. Not that CTA or Shengen or shortlist nonsense.

    • Simon says:

      Agree but we don’t have the capability. Yet.

    • Ian M says:

      The problem with that is how unreliable the test kits are and how slow it is to get results back. I’ve got friends who were tested on Monday 4th May who haven’t had their results back yet!

      • Crafty says:

        I was advised on Friday that I am being sent a test (no symptoms – presumably as a “control” sample) and that I must do it as soon as possible. It only arrived yesterday (Monday) evening. The system for booking collections cannot be accessed outside working hours (8am-4pm), so I have only today (Tuesday) been able to book a collection slot, which is for anytime tomorrow (Wednesday). 5 days later. Absolutely shambolic.

        • Rob says:

          You’re counted in the figures for last Friday though, so that’s OK 🙂

        • GeorgeJ says:

          Doesnt sound shambolic to me, just a slowish process across a bank holiday. Its “only” a control sample at the end of the day. What would you expect as an alternative?
          I have just had a heart monitor taking a similar time and I didnt think it was slow at all, perfectly fine (and I wasn’t a control!).
          In difficult times we all have to be reasonable.