Coronavirus: New quarantine restrictions and face covering rules implemented
Video report by ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy
New quarantine measures come into force for those arriving from Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas from today.
Arrivals back in the UK must now self-isolate for two weeks, after the government took the foreign destinations off the safe travel list following a rise in Covid-19 cases in the three countries.
Britons are now advised to avoid all but essential travel to these destinations.
Coronavirus: Ministers refuse to rule out France being next on UK's quarantine list
Preston to be included in northern coronavirus lockdown restrictions
Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to rule out adding France to the quarantine list on Friday, following a steady increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.
When asked if France could be next, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he "can't speculate", adding how ministers are keeping "everything under constant review".
Asked the same question, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said there is "evidence that across the European Union the number of [coronavirus] outbreaks is increasing".
It comes as tougher rules on face coverings also come into force from today.
Face coverings are now mandatory in indoor places of worship, museums and galleries, public areas in hotels and hostels, bingo halls, libraries, concert halls, cinemas, crematoriums, aquariums and indoor zoos.
Josephine Chanter from The Design Museum describes the organisation that goes into ensuring visitors are wearing face masks
Senior Tories have criticised the Government for their “unfair” lack of clarity over the possible implementation of further quarantine restrictions.
Chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs Sir Graham Brady and former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith have called for a “proper testing regime for air travellers” to be implemented as quickly as possible, and for regional air corridors to be considered.
Sir Graham told The Telegraph leaving the public in the dark on the matter is “grossly unfair”.
“We should move to a proper testing regime for air travellers as quickly as possible, but in the meantime it is essential that the Government is as transparent as possible about the criteria which are being used judging which countries require quarantine and which do not.
“Leaving the travelling public in the dark is grossly unfair and is causing further damage to the holiday and leisure sector,” he said.
Sir Iain added that holidaymakers needed more information and for it to be clearer so they could make better informed decisions about whether to travel abroad.
He also called on the Government to reconsider regional travel corridors and testing to replace the “blunt” approach of quarantine.
“People are travelling to countries at the moment and they have no idea whether they will or will not have quarantine reimposed,” he told the paper.
“My only question is can the Government not look at regional quarantine so that people could travel to low-risk areas like Majorca but not Barcelona?”
The comments come as Eurostar said it recorded an increase in passengers travelling on its trains from Brussels to London on Friday, beating the deadline.
Mr Sunak told Sky News: “It’s a tricky situation. What I can say to people is we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and that means there is always the risk of disruption to travel plans and people need to bear that in mind.
“It’s the right thing for us to do to keep everything under review on a constant basis talking with our scientists, our medical advisers, and if we need to take action as you’ve seen overnight we will of course not hesitate to do that and we’re doing that to protect people’s health.”
France’s coronavirus rate has increased steadily in the past month to 13.2 new infections per 100,000 people, suggesting the spread is worse than in the UK, which has a rate of 8.4.
However, France still appears to be faring better than Belgium, which has seen its rate soar to 27.8. It also has a rate lower than Spain’s when it was added to the restriction list at around 27.4.