May 22, 2020
Visitors to Britain would need to make arrangements for where they can quarantine for 14 days. PHOTO: AFP
LONDON (AFP) – Britain is to introduce a quarantine period of 14 days for those arriving in the UK, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis confirmed Friday (May 22) and said ministers would give details later.
“People who are coming to the UK will have to do quarantine,” Mr Lewis told Sky News, saying the new rules would cover British citizens and those from elsewhere.
“We’re saying to people you’ve got to make your own arrangements. If you’re coming to the UK, then you need to make those arrangements.”
He said UK citizens coming back from abroad would be able to quarantine at home, but visitors to Britain would need to make arrangements for where they can quarantine for 14 days.
The plans are expected to come into force next month and further details would be outlined on Friday by Home Secretary Priti Patel at the daily Downing Street briefing.
Mr Lewis said the policy would be reviewed every three weeks.
There are expected to be exemptions for road hauliers and medical officials, while the common travel area with Ireland will be unaffected.
But it is thought that arrivals from France will have to quarantine, despite claims earlier this month there would be an exemption.
The move is likely to prove controversial, especially within the aviation sector.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary earlier this week branded a proposed quarantine plan “idiotic”, while trade body Airlines UK has said it “would effectively kill” international travel to the UK.
There has been criticism within the UK about the lack of a quarantine while other countries such as South Korea, Spain and the US did impose such a restriction, and others are questioning why the measures are being imposed now.
Geneticist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Nurse criticised the government on Friday when asked about the introduction of a quarantine period.
“The UK has been rather too much on the back foot, increasingly playing catch-up, firefighting,” he told the BBC.
He added: “We are desperate for clear leadership at all levels.”