The British Government is proposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travellers into Britain. This is to avoid a second peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, an announcement was expected on Sunday 10 May 2020. In fact, when new measures were introduced this particular proposal had been put on hold. It is still a possibility. It is expected these measures will become effective at the end of the month; at a time when other countries are re-opening their borders and beginning their economic recovery.
The Proposed Measures Regarding Quarantine in the UK
The proposed measures will require all passengers arriving at airports, ports and Eurostar stations to provide a private address where they will immediately self-isolate themselves for the subsequent 14 days. It is believed this will be enforced by spot checks and those not obeying the rules will be subjected to fines of up to £1,000 and in the case of foreign nationals, deportation.
The details have not yet been released regarding the length of time for which the measures will be in force and exactly who will be affected. Will it apply only to visitors – in which case they will no doubt decide not to visit. This would be a disaster for all sectors in the UK but in particular, aviation and tourism. Plans for the future will once again become uncertain and the government may be greeted with widespread reluctance to comply.
The Necessity for Quarantine Measures in the UK
When the UK was at its most vulnerable in early March thousands of people were returning to the UK and very little was done, including no temperature checks at London’s major airports, in contract to other countries in Europe. The countries that acted quickly to control the spread of the coronavirus are beginning to emerge from lockdown whereas the UK seems to be proposing a backward step.
The Consequences of Quarantine Measures in the UK
The aviation industry is already the hardest hit of all industries with aircraft grounded, airlines failing and large-scale redundancies. Some are planning to resume services while others are still operating rescue services. The introduction of compulsory quarantine for all passengers arriving in the UK could not come at a worse time. Not only aviation but for tourism and many other businesses that are already struggling.
And how will the rest of the world react to these restrictions? Countries that have already opened their borders again may decide to introduce the same measures for all travellers arriving from the UK.
There are many areas that require clarification and the situation still remains uncertain.