Ban on leaving UK 'without reasonable excuse' included in new Covid laws in force next week

Credit: AP

A ban on leaving the country without a reasonable excuse is included in new Covid laws coming into force in England next week until at least early May.

The legislation for restrictions over the coming months was published on Monday, as the government sets out its roadmap for coming out of lockdown.

From March 29, leaving the UK is banned unless a person has "a reasonable excuse".

Another change the legislation sets out is to allow protests to once again be permitted under certain circumstances.

The rules will be up for review in 35 days, taking the travel ban through until at least 3 May.

The ban is in place for all who don't have a "reasonable excuse" to leave the country.

The document outlines those reasons that would allow for international travel - including work purposes, a course of study, elite sport, or fulfilling a legal obligation overseas.

People buying or selling a property outside of the UK can also leave the country, as well as those providing care, or requiring medical treatment overseas.

Rule breakers face a fine of £5,000.

The travel ban does not apply to those going to the common travel area of the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland unless that is not the final destination.

Exemptions also apply including for those needing to travel for work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they are moving, selling or renting property, for some childcare reasons or to be present at a birth, to visit a dying relative or close friend, to attend a funeral, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a close relative, for medical appointments or to escape a risk of harm.

  • Should I book a holiday overseas this year? 'I would advise people to wait'

The move adds further doubt to the hope of holidays abroad for Brits this year.

Care minister Helen Whately told ITV News she would urge Brits to be "cautious" about booking travel overseas this summer.

"I would advise people to wait until the international travel task force has reported back before going ahead and booking international holidays."

The government's global travel taskforce is assessing whether overseas tourism will be able to get ahead this year.

International travel for recreational purposes is set to remain off limits until at least May 17 in line with the PM's roadmap out of lockdown.

People queue to receive their coronavirus vaccine. Credit: PA

The legislation also sets out rules for protests to take place once more.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, from next week protest will be considered a permitted exception to the rules banning group gatherings.

The document said this is as long as "it is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body or a political body",

The demonstrations can only go ahead if the organiser "takes the required precautions in relation to the gathering", the law says, which is likely to include making the event "Covid-secure" like ensuring people wear face masks and are socially distanced.