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.

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  1. Mickey Mouse says:

    The need to leave the airport by car presumably rules out connecting flights to other parts of the country, but I’m surprised this isn’t covered in the Govt announcement. It is not safe for someone coming off a long haul overnight flight to drive long distances.

  2. So a British passport holder working overseas can’t return to the UK just for a weekend?

    • Andrew says:


      • What you are saying is that the Border Force has the power to ban a UK resident from leaving the country if they haven’t done the 14 day quarantine?

        • ChrisBCN says:

          I presume they could fine you at the airport but couldn’t stop you from leaving the country. They could then ask the airline to deny you boarding perhaps.

    • Actually you can work overseas regularly and return unimpeded. As ever there is no substitute for reading the detail which gives a quarantine exemption for:
      “a person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week”
      Its down there at the bottom of the list so a UK based person who needs to travel for their job on a regular basis is exempt.
      The real target here is the casual traveller and holidaymaker, they just dont want any large volumes of people going for the odd business trip or holiday. In reality the 14 day rule will keep the volumes down to next to nothing, most of us just wont be bothered to be a clever clogs and take a detour via Ireland or wherever.
      I have trips booked for July and August and now expect the flights to be cancelled for lack of volume if this stays in place.

  3. I’ve just seen the current government information on exempted persons and my OH would seem to fall within this. Chances of getting him to travel this summer are pretty low, but this means that if we did take our booked holiday to Spain at the end of July, he would be able to go back to work on our return, but I and our son would have to quarantine for 14 days! Even more bonkers is that if I wasn’t retiring next week, I wouldn’t have to quarantine either as I would be required to return to my old job. The mind boggles.

    • Robert says:

      Also check that the same 14 day quarantine doesn’t apply when arriving in Spain too.
      I’m lucky in that I can work from home so imagine I’ll be able to work and quarantine at the same time.
      The interesting thing for me is that during the quarantine you’re permitted to do an hours exercise outdoors and essential food shopping, knowing my luck that’ll be when I get a knock at the door, just like when waiting for a parcel!

      • I think they will lift that in Spain unless they have another spike, there have been protests this week against the government because of the damage to the economy. It’s the other restrictions which will put people off, like limited beach access and having to wear a mask outside.

        • Lady London says:

          is a suntan around the edges of a mask going to be the new beach look?

    • Lady London says:


      • Lady London says:

        Does the government think we’re stupid, or… is the government that stupid.

        Even Greece (that really needs visitors) has thought better of having us now.

  4. Chris says:

    So a 2 week holiday becomes 4 weeks as I assume employers will not give special leave or sick leave.

    • No, just fly back via Dublin and you will be fine, adds maybe 3 hours onto the trip lol

      • Lady London says:

        doesnt DUB have their own quarantine though? gotta feeling you’d have to have split tickets or >24hrs there otherwise your original departure point would show on the systems as where you came from not DUB

  5. Why not screen everyone with LamPORE’s new device, portable or desktop.
    Results in an hour, each device can do 30k tests a day

  6. Scott says:

    What are they going to do when I arrive at Heathrow? Escort me under armed guard to an awaiting car to take me to where I’m going to be self-quarantining?
    If I was coming into the country, I would either get the tube to Kings Cross and the train from there, or drive.
    Suppose I could use an official car park shuttle bus, if they’re running, to get to a LHR car park and then drive 3.5hrs home?

    Or can I claim I’m going to pick fruit and get around things that way? Got a raspberry plant in my garden so could pick something off that.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      They may ask you how you plan to get to your place of quarantine at passport check (although if the e-gates are open, maybe they wouldn’t…) – but if at Heathrow I don’t see how they could follow everyone to the tube!

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I wonder if another person who lives in your household could employ you on minimum wage to pick fruit from your garden for an hour a day and give you a contract. Not exactly in the spirit of things of course, but does show the ridiculousness of the policy!

    • I think they haven’t thought very much of this through at all, which is why they keep kicking the can down the road about when they are going to release the full details.

  7. Andrew says:

    Surely there is a MASSIVE loophole in this in that:

    You go on a nice break to somewhere like Brazil where COVID is rife.

    You return and you promise the nice person from the Border Force that you will stay in your own home for 14 days.

    You don’t bother and return to work the next day.

    3 days later someone from “the private sector” turns up at your house when you are at work, knocks on the door but obviously gets no answer.

    They pass your details to the local Bobby (who I am sure will be thrilled with this additional workload) who then tries to issue you with a fine.

    You simply claim that you were in fact at home but “but as you were self isolating and out of an abundance of caution for your fellow humans” you didn’t answer the door so as not to put others at risk.

    Surely it is only possible to prove that you WERE at home not that you were not, so how can a fine legally be imposed?

    Obviously not in the spirit of the law, certainly not responsible and I am not advocating it, but surely this renders the whole thing totally unenforceable?

    Or am I missing something?

    • You are correct, I pointed all this out in an earlier post. From years of trying to enforce things like curfews and residence conditions I know how difficult it is to get someone convicted at court where there is any hint of reasonable doubt about the circumstances.

      • Though is you had gone back to work there would be a potential evidence trail of witness statements and (probably) CCTV, but I can’t see too many people doing that as it would obviously raise questions. Breaches of quarantine would be more likely, IMO, to involve unnecessary shopping trips and visits to (colluding) family and friends.

    • A rule doesn’t stop to make sense just because it’s difficult to impossible to enforce it. The rule will prevent at least 90% from people to go on holiday and most businesses to not allow international business travel whether it’s enforceable or not.

  8. Scott says:

    The only way they could enforce this is by locking up everyone who enters the country in Government controlled detention centres or similar for 2 weeks.
    We’ve all seen that quite a few people ignore rules, and/or interpret them as they see fit.
    I wouldn’t trust anyone entering the country to abide by the rules 100%.

    Nothing to stop me on the drive home after arriving, making a number of stops for shopping, to see family and friends etc. before eventually going home. Could potentially infect half the country!

    Suppose they could check with your workplace if you’ve turned up there during those 2 weeks?

  9. As previously stated, IMO the government just hasn’t thought this through, and that’s why they haven’t implemented it immediately and keep kicking the can down the road about when they are going to release the full details. They know enforcement of lockdown has been a shambles and will want to avoid a repeat of that. They need to get all the agencies on side and singing from the same hymn sheet. There’s a massive disconnect between what they want to achieve and the extent of authorities’ ability to enforce anything in this country – the “Youman Rights” brigade would be up in arms if we tried the kind of tactics which have been so successful in places like Taiwan and South Korea, while at the same time lambasting the government for not doing enough, soon enough. I think that it will ultimately be unworkable.

    • * As in, “It’s against my youman rights, innit?”

      • mradey says:

        I wouldn’t be so flippant with HMG requiring house arrest for 14 days. That isn’t the country I knew.

        • Absolutely nothing flippant about it, everything I said was drawn from decades of professional experience. Also there’s no such thing as “house arrest” in this country.

    • They dont need to rush with this as long as we are generating @60,000 new cases a week (findings from ONS survey data) and have an active infected population of @1.5-2 per thousand.. Even if arrivals have the same incidence as our own (high incidence) population the number coming in per week who will be positive almost makes no difference. It only makes a difference if our rate of infection falls and lots of people go off on holiday and bring it back. The announcement itself stops most of us planning holidays until we see what happens.
      Don’t be surprised to see the FCO restriction continue and the implementation of the ban extend out a bit further if the rate doesnt fall.

  10. Andrew says:

    For the few people that decide to travel, probably most will generally stay home to do the right thing for the greater good. A few won’t and not much will happen to them if they don’t, but that’s the same as most laws – you aren’t supposed to deal drugs, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but most people don’t do it.

  11. Surely this will be reciprocal and many countries will now ask UK citizens to quarantine for 2 weeks… Glad I have no desire or need to visit the UK anytime soon.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes and most likely you will see exemptions on a reciprocal basis.

      • God I hope so. I need to leave the country for work, and do hope to be able to come back by the end of July as planned.

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