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How will the 14-day UK travel quarantine work?

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The Government has announced details of its travel quarantine arrangements this afternoon.

As had been trailed, virtually all arrivals into the UK will need to enter into quarantine for 14 days on arrival.  For non-UK citizens / residents, Border Force will be allowed to refuse entry if they believe that the visitor will not abide by these arrangements.

The exact details will not be known until full written Government guidance is published.  This is what was announced:

When does the new quarantine system begin?

8th June

Who is covered by the quarantine ruling?

Everyone entering the United Kingdom from anywhere except Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Ireland, except for freight drivers, doctors and scientists entering for coronavirus-related work and fruit pickers.

How does it work?

Arrivals will need to have filled in an ‘online contact locator’ form before arriving in the country.  It will not be a Government requirement to have completed the form but airlines may at their discretion refuse to carry passengers who have not done so.  This will be used for quarantine enforcement and for contacting travellers if any fellow passengers on their flight, boat or train falls ill.

Arrivals must leave the port or airport by car, wherever possible, and head to a location where they will quarantine for 14 days.  Travellers should not receive visitors and should not leave their quarantine to buy food or other supplies if possible.

Hotel accommodation will be provided for arrivals who do not have accommodation arranged.

Other people who are staying in the same house as someone who is quarantining do not have to enter quarantine.

What is the fine for breaking quarantine?

The police will not be directly involved in enforcing quarantine.

Public health officials and ‘private contractors’ will be responsible for visiting arriving travellers.  (It is unclear how this will work as I doubt either of these groups has the legal right to enter your property.)  In theory, these contractors will supply the police with details of those who were not at their stated address so that the police can issue a fixed penalty of £1,000.  Other parts of the UK can set their own arrangements.

When will these measure be reviewed?

The measures will be reviewed every three weeks.

The official guidance should be available on this page of the Government website very soon.

Comments (245)

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  • Andrew says:

    I think the Border Force boss at the briefing said that non-UK/resident travellers who do not have a place to quarantine will be able to use at government-arranged location at their own cost. He also said (I’m paraphrasing) that if the traveller does not have the funds to do that then Border Force would/could consider this as not having the resources to support themselves for their stay and and travellers are often removed from the UK in these circumstances.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    Good job the virus knows to stay out until June 8th.

    • CV3V says:

      Yes they have decided to keep the virus at bay, but only from 8th June. They spent weeks telling us that the WHO guidance wasn’t to close borders or quarantine, allowing unrestricted access to the country from New York and Italy. But now when the virus is on the decrease (at least in Europe and Asia) its time to quarantine people. Another fine mess.

    • ankomonkey says:


  • Andrew says:

    The Border Force guy said that the government arranged hotel would be at the individual’s expense – if they cannot afford it, they will be refused entry to the U.K.

  • Andy S says:

    Arrive at the airport, you are then free to use public transport to get home and you then self isolate?

    Who ever thought of this lacks simple common sense!

    • Andrew says:

      Individuals are being asked to travel by car and not public transport.

      • davvero says:

        If they can… just like workers are meant to drive if they can.

        It’s nonsense!

    • Petr Velky says:

      Every plan has some imperfections. Better this than having those people visiting all friends and relatives, going to all major attractions, wandering around parks, shops.. public communication is mostly empty these days.

    • Riku says:

      We faced this public transport arrival issue in Finland months ago. The answer was to close the airport train station completely and for the busses only allow airport workers/domestic flight passengers onboard.
      All arrivals that could not proceed by private car were put into a specially chartered bus or taxi. Both paid for by the state (this amazingly led to 1000e taxi drives to the north of Finland). But it meant nobody arrived in the country and mixed with the locals on public transport. And like I said – this was implemented in March! And in the UK you are not even doing this in June.

  • Michael says:

    The most important question is what will the Irish do with EU/non-EU arrivals?

    • davvero says:

      Same as they always do. They’ve had quarantine for a while. If you’re going onwards to the UK you will not pass through UK immigration as it’s common travel area so you’re not likely to encounter a UK officer.

      • John says:

        See later response on thread, but this is only being made a legal requirement in Dublin next week. Think Border Force will see transit, as CTA states swap data.

  • Andy S says:

    Fruit Pickers are free to spread the virus as they wish????

    • Andrew says:

      Apparently they get to stay on their designated farm (clearly often in shared conditions with other fruit pickers…). Not sure if this is a requirement of the exemption or “just what fruit pickers do” and so an assumption for that category though.

    • Michael says:

      Cheaper than employing Brits who apparently, we are told time and time again, would prefer to be on the Dole than work. Nothing to do with exploiting poor immigrants and forcing them to live in farm accomm of course. Hate speech.

      • the_real_a says:

        Of course fruit picking at 6X your regular wage – many people even the so called workshy would like to spend a summer doing that abroad (as many Brits did fruit picking in Australia on working holidays). To ask British people to do this work – for the same wage as sitting on a till in tesco or at a 20% premium to benefits – its absolutely no surprise that Brits dont fancy it. I mean they are not daft are they… Shortage of labour works by forcing change, in this case on pay at the risk of ruined crops. It doesn’t work by caving at the first tear and shipping in a batch of Romanians.

        • Chrish says:

          The majority of people who read that the Brits won’t fruit pick are idiots of course the Brits would fruit pick Offer them £25 an hour & they would jump at it
          The same people say we don’t have enough Nurses, Care Home workers, Porters ect
          It’s due to various Government Polices ( & i mean both Governments)
          That we don’t have enough, Pay them enough, Train them well, Give them “Free Training” with the proviso that they must remain in the uk after or repay all plus a reasonable extra on top if they leave
          We would have always had enough (except just after war)
          There are of course not enough “Now” but that’s been because of all the Government policies

        • J says:

          Plenty of British young adults fancy picking fruit and veg over summer holidays and many do so. But what’s more exciting, picking in Britain, or booking a £30 Easyjet flight to France or Germany for 6 weeks of hard work and adventure? Ten years ago my wife flew over from Germany to spend a summer picking tomatoes in the UK – the appeal was the experience of living abroad (the money was barely a factor) – it also counted towards a part of her degree. This myth the tabloids spin about young Brits not wanting to graft in a field is rubbish – there is just significant added value in heading abroad at that age – and no shortage of seasonal work to pick up across the EU.

      • bazza says:

        EU supplying cheap labour? That’s just not true!
        Extremely high educated (mainly doctors, nurses and scientist) and very hard workers, just ask…….Jamie Oliver!

    • Ian M says:

      Fruit pickers are immune from the virus, didn’t you know?

  • davvero says:

    What a joke the UK is! Everything too little, too late. We’re supposed to be two weeks behind Italy, but Italy are planning to lift quarantine a week before we start here.

    • Andrew says:

      But it’s as our infection rate lowers that imported cases become a threat, previously there were so many cases here, that a few more wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

      • davvero says:

        What does the UK know that the other places don’t?

      • CV3V says:

        No, it was as the number of cases around the world reached a peak and we allowed unrestricted access to the UK in a way few other countries did, that was when it really counted. Flights arrived into LHR everyday from New York, China and Italy without restriction, with passengers going on to public transport (yet those same countries restricted access to entering their countries, what did they know?). That was when we should have been doing everything possible to protect the NHS to ensure capacity and protect the public. Too late now.

      • sayling says:

        @Andrew – totally agree

      • Margaret says:

        There are no (or virtually no) new cases in London now but 3000+ daily in the north of England. If it’s about preventing spread do we stop northerners at King’s Cross?

  • Rich says:

    It does seem that it will run almost entirely on honesty and goodwill. Use public transport if possible, don’t go out to buy food if possible, we might send someone round to check on you but we probably won’t.

    Bloggers and Guardian columnists will stick rigidly to the rules, and document every hour of their quarantine. Normal people will write down an address, then get on the tube and carry on as normal.

    • Andrew says:

      I would imagine very few people will travel because of this so the issue will affect a very small number of people and that’s what the government is counting on. They don’t want people to travel and this will be an effective deterrent.

      • davvero says:

        That’s Virgin dead then!

      • Bill says:

        The fco advice is sufficient to discourage travel. Quarantine is simply a political lever to appease the masses since it sounds good

    • Kip says:

      So what’s the alternative? Armed police roaming the streets looking for quarantine fugitives? It’s a temporary measure that will fizzle out in a few weeks. Covid deaths will be completely eradicated by end of June on current trends.

      • Joanna Robbins says:

        Where are the extra people coming from to check you have notgone out

        • Rob says:

          They’ll probably let you do it on commission …. you get to keep £500 for everyone you find. It would at least encourage some applicants.

          • Cam says:

            This would encourage jobsworths checking same way packages are delivered by courier services: look at the house, and if no one opens the door, tiptoe up to slip a notice (here, penalty notice) through the mail slot. No need to ever knock or ring the bell. Job done, and bank another commission. Leave it up to the quarantined person to appeal – which can only be done by sending original documentation proving one was at home within seven days by post (but don’t break quarantine by inviting someone by or going to the post office)!

      • davvero says:

        Perhaps a little less wishy washy… Italy said you CAN’T use public transport when arriving in the country while quarantined, you needed to arrange your own transport from the airport.

        Why does the UK do everything half arsed? It just extends the pain for everyone!

        • sayling says:


          Yeah, shame we couldn’t even get our NHS completely overwhelmed, like Italy. Merely ‘quite a bit stretched’.
          Can’t do anything right, can we?

      • Bagoly says:

        Compulsory app on your ‘phone relaying your location every twenty minutes.
        When there is a fail the police are notified and make a call.
        Twice daily ‘phone calls to check that you haven’t abandoned your ‘phone at home.

        That is what other European countries are doing.
        Yes, it is a restriction of liberty – but the arriving to the country is optional.

        • Kip says:

          Some people may consider liberty to be a lot more important than a virus with a death rate of less than 1 per cent.

          • John says:

            Then they can stand for election and write the laws in the future.

        • davvero says:

          Which European countries are forcing people to install a tracking app that reports your location every 20 minutes?

          Even the current UK COVID app doesn’t track your location.

          Even if it did, super easy loophole. Get a cheap phone or a new sim for an old phone, leave your new phone at home running and set it to divert to the number of the phone you have with you so you can answer it when out.

    • Harry T says:

      Agreed. The chances of actually being successful caught and prosecuted are incredibly low. And I’m sure there are people who consider a £1000 fine irrelevant anyway. The enforcement process sounds about as intimidating and effective as the TV licensing people.

    • John says:

      The “lockdown” itself runs/ran on honesty and goodwill.

      The NHS runs largely on goodwill.

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