Overseas arrivals could face £1,000 fines if they fail to quarantine for 14 days
International travellers could face spot checks and £1,000 fines if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK under measures to guard against a second wave of coronavirus.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline the plans – which will be introduced early next month – at the daily Downing Street briefing on Friday, a senior government official confirmed.
Exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials will apply, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected.
Arrivals from France will not be exempt, the official confirmed, following confusion earlier this week.
Travellers will be asked to fill in a form with their contact information, and health officials will perform spot checks to ensure compliance with the measures.
The move has angered some airlines and trade bodies who claim they have not been given “specific discussions” as yet on how a quarantine would be implemented.
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A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said the measures "will prevent flights from resuming" echoing an earlier warning from Airlines UK that a quarantine “would effectively kill” international travel to and from Britain.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary earlier this week branded the plan “idiotic” and “unimplementable”.
Virgin Atlantic called for a "multi-layered approach of carefully targeted public health and screening measures, which will allow for a successful and safe restart of international air travel for passengers and businesses."
According to the Airport Operators Association CEO, the government had not yet outlined with the sector how they would enforce the 14-day quarantine.
Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee, she was keen to see more information on the “usefulness” of certain people being exempt from quarantine.
Meanwhile, the scientific advice given to the government which informed proposals to send some pupils back to school from June 1 will be published.
The Sun newspaper reported that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) papers will suggest teachers are at no greater risk of catching coronavirus than other key workers.
The publication of the advice follows concern from teaching unions and council leaders about the government’s plans to allow children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to school from next month.
In other developments:
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said around one in six people in London and one in 20 elsewhere in England have already had coronavirus – and revealed that certificates are being looked at for people who test positive for antibodies.
Mr Hancock also said more than 10 million antibody tests will start being rolled out next week and will first be offered to health and social care staff as well as patients and care home residents.
A trial of a rapid 20-minute test to tell people if they currently have Covid-19 was launched.
A new study suggested that a blood test could help track a person’s immune response to Covid-19, allowing doctors to identify at an early stage who might need additional treatment or critical care.
England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said excess deaths in care homes during the coronavirus pandemic have peaked and “come down a long way”.
The nation took to the doorstep for the ninth week in a row to clap for NHS carers and key workers who have put their lives at risk fighting Covid-19.
It comes after Boris Johnson performed a U-turn to exempt overseas health and care staff from the fee levied on migrants to pay for the NHS following mounting pressure from senior Tories.
Downing Street said the Prime Minister has asked officials at the Home Office and the Department for Health and Social Care to remove health and care workers from the surcharge “as soon as possible”.
Full details will be announced in the coming days, a Number 10 spokesman said.
Mr Johnson “has been thinking about this a great deal” and as a “personal beneficiary of carers from abroad” he understands the difficulties faced by our amazing NHS staff, the spokesman said.