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Coronavirus

Two-week quarantine for travellers to UK, no exemption for France, says British interior minister

Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, said new quarantine rules for travellers entering Britain were aimed at ensuring that there was not another massive wave of coronavirus infections.
Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, said new quarantine rules for travellers entering Britain were aimed at ensuring that there was not another massive wave of coronavirus infections. © AFP - Pippa Fowles
2 min

Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel, said on Friday that international arrivals to the UK must self-isolate for two weeks to prevent imported cases of Covid-19. Patel said the UK government was following the science and reducing the possibility of a potential second wave of coronavirus infections in the country with Europe's highest death rate of more than 36,000.  

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"Imported cases could begin to pose an increased threat," said Patel. The British government had decided to impose restrictions on international arrivals to the UK to protect that hard-won progress that the Covid-19 lockdown had secured, the Conservative party politician added. 

The British government had flip-flopped over exemptions for travellers from France. But despite working closely with the French authorities, Patel said arrivals from France would have to go into quarantine.

Patel said new arrivals to the UK could now have a bigger impact on the number of infections given that domestic transmission of the coronavirus was no longer at a peak. "By taking these steps we could save many more lives," she said. 

June start for new measures

Travellers to the UK will be expected from 8 June to provide contact and address details, as well as an outline of their travel plans, said Paul Lincoln, the head of the UK's Border Force.

Those exempt from the 14-day self-isolation include road haulage and freight workers, medical workers and foreign officials, said Lincoln. Self-isolation would not apply to the Common Travel Area, meaning travellers from the Republic of Ireland going to the UK would not need to quarantine themselves. 

Fines of £1,000 (1,100 euros) would be handed out to those breaking the restrictions. The British authorities would be carrying out spot-checks and those refusing to comply with the measures would be refused entry to the UK. 

The restrictions will be reviewed every three weeks, according to the interior minister. 

 

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