Anyone arriving in United Kingdom from abroad will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, the airlines in the country have been informed by the government; Republic of Ireland has not been included. The new measures are expected to be enforced by the end of May. Airlines UK in their statement said the new policy needed “a credible exit plan” and should be reviewed weekly. People entering the country would have to self-isolate in their own arrangements and they will be providing an address for quarantine upon landing. The timeframe of the travel restriction in not clear as of yet while it is also unclear if the rule would apply to non-UK residents who would need a private rented space to self-isolate.
“We need to see the details of what they are proposing”, said Airlines UK, an industry body that represents EasyJet, British Airways and other national airlines.
Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst will take airline and airports managements into confidence over the new measures in a conference call on Saturday morning. United Kingdom airports suggested that a quarantine “would not only have a devastating impact on the UK aviation industry, but also on the wider economy.
A representative from the Airport Operations Association said the measure should be applied “on a selective basis following the science” and the economic impact on key sectors should be mitigated”.
Lorry drivers associated with the transportation of goods and people linked with shipping industry are whitelisted from the order.
Andrew Marr on last Sunday inquired transport secretary whether the government would mandate a quarantine on people nearing borders of United Kingdom. Grant Shapps said answered he was “actively looking at these issues, right now, so that when we have infection rates within the country under control we are not importing”.
He added it was necessary “that we do ensure that the sacrifices, in a sense, social distancing, that we are asking the British people to make are matched by anyone who comes to this country”.
A Home Office Spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaks. The focus remains on staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
However, the question arises if a quarantine is necessary now why it was not mandatory weeks ago when the COVID-19 numbers were hitting the peak. Tens of thousands of Brits have arrived at UK borders following the outbreak, although the government maintains that majority of the people making return are UK nationals moving for their homes.