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Coronavirus: What are the UK travel quarantine rules?

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Coronavirus: What are the UK travel quarantine rules? 1

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A two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving in the UK will be enforced from 8 June, the government says.

The measures were being introduced to “keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Friday.

What are the new quarantine rules?

Passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – will have to provide an address where they will remain for 14 days. There is a £100 penalty for anyone found to have not filled in this ”contact locator” form.

Surprise visits will be used to check they are following the rules. Those in England could be fined up to £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate, while governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can also impose penalties.

Passengers will be asked to drive in their own car to their destination, where possible. If they don’t provide an address, the government will arrange accommodation.

Why are the measures being introduced in June?

While there was still “significant” transmission of the virus within the UK, the impact of these border restrictions would have been negligible, the government says.

But now transmission has fallen, it hopes quarantine measures will lower the risk of infection being reintroduced from other countries.

The measures will be reviewed every three weeks to check they are in line with scientific guidance and remain ”effective and necessary”.

Do the quarantine rules apply to everybody?

There are a number of groups who are exempt, including:

  • Road haulage and freight workers
  • Medical officials who are travelling to help fight coronavirus
  • Anyone arriving from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man
  • Seasonal agricultural workers if they self-isolate on the property where they are working

Initially, it was suggested the rules would also not apply to travellers from France. However, the government later insisted the quarantine measures will also apply to them.

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Seasonal agricultural workers are exempt if they self-isolate where they are working

The possibility of introducing “air bridges” is being considered by the government. This would be an arrangement where travellers from countries with low coronavirus levels could be exempt from quarantine.

Speaking to the BBC, Greece’s tourism minister called for his country – which has not been badly affected – to be among them.

Do other countries have quarantine rules?

People travelling to another country may also have to enter quarantine when they arrive there.

Fourteen-day quarantine rules apply in destinations including Spain, Italy, Greece, Canada, the UAE, Australia and New Zealand. Many have introduced screening measures such as temperature checks, and entry restrictions.

Some have banned foreign visitors, as in Spain, where only UK citizens with permanent resident status can enter.

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Many airports have taken measures to help enforce social distancing rules.

What has the response been?

UK airlines fear the measures will have a devastating impact on their industry and the wider economy.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, has said the policy had “no credibility”.

And Airlines UK, which represents various airlines, said quarantine “would effectively kill off air travel”.

The British Ports Association, which represents ferry companies, has also spoken out against the measures – calling them “overzealous”.

What other measures have been put in place?

The government guidance says all flight passengers should remain at least 2m (6ft) apart from other people wherever possible and consider wearing a face covering.

People travelling through Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports have already been told to cover their faces and wear gloves.

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Passengers need to keep at least 2m (6ft) apart

Some temperature screening trials will also be conducted at Stansted. Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, is already trialling large-scale temperature checks.

Air France says passengers will be temperature-checked before flying. The carrier has also made face masks compulsory – similar to several US airlines.

Will airlines still be flying?

EasyJet will restart a ”small number” of flights on 15 June, with all passengers and cabin crew told to wear face masks.

Ryanair still plans to reintroduce 40% of its flights from 1 July, subject to travel restrictions being lifted and safety measures being brought in at airports.

British Airways is reviewing its plans to run 50% of its schedule from July, because of the new quarantine rules.

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CoronaVirus translator

What do all these terms mean?

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  • Antibodies test

    A medical test that can show if a person has had the coronavirus and now has some immunity. The test detects antibodies in the blood, which are produced by the body to fight off the disease.

  • Asymptomatic

    Someone who has a disease but does not have any of the symptoms it causes. Some studies suggest some people with coronavirus carry the disease but don’t show the common symptoms, such as a persistent cough or high temperature.

  • Containment phase

    The first part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which involved trying to identify infected people early and trace anyone who had been in close contact with them.

  • Coronavirus

    One of a group of viruses that can cause severe or mild illness in humans and animals. The coronavirus currently sweeping the world causes the disease Covid-19. The common cold and influenza (flu) are other types of coronaviruses.

  • Covid-19

    The disease caused by the coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. It primarily affects the lungs.

  • Delay phase

    The second part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, in which measures such as social distancing are used to delay its spread.

  • Fixed penalty notice

    A fine designed to deal with an offence on the spot, instead of in court. These are often for driving offences, but now also cover anti-social behaviour and breaches of the coronavirus lockdown.

  • Flatten the curve

    Health experts use a line on a chart to show numbers of new coronavirus cases. If a lot of people get the virus in a short period of time, the line might rise sharply and look a bit like a mountain. However, taking measures to reduce infections can spread cases out over a longer period and means the “curve” is flatter. This makes it easier for health systems to cope.

  • Flu

    Short for influenza, a virus that routinely causes disease in humans and animals, in seasonal epidemics.

  • Furlough

    Supports firms hit by coronavirus by temporarily helping pay the wages of some staff. It allows employees to remain on the payroll, even though they aren’t working.

  • Herd immunity

    How the spread of a disease slows after a sufficiently large proportion of a population has been exposed to it.

  • Immune

    A person whose body can withstand or fend off a disease is said to be immune to it. Once a person has recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus, Covid-19, for example, it is thought they cannot catch it again for a certain period of time.

  • Incubation period

    The period of time between catching a disease and starting to display symptoms.

  • Intensive care

    Hospital wards which treat patients who are very ill. They are run by specially-trained healthcare staff and contain specialist equipment.

  • Lockdown

    Restrictions on movement or daily life, where public buildings are closed and people told to stay at home. Lockdowns have been imposed in several countries as part of drastic efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Mitigation phase

    The third part of the UK’s strategy to deal with the coronavirus, which will involve attempts to lessen the impact of a high number of cases on public services. This could mean the NHS halting all non-critical care and police responding to major crimes and emergencies only.

  • NHS 111

    The NHS’s 24-hour phone and online service, which offers medical advice to anyone who needs it. People in England and Wales are advised to ring the service if they are worried about their symptoms. In Scotland, they should check NHS inform, then ring their GP in office hours or 111 out of hours. In Northern Ireland, they should call their GP.

  • Outbreak

    Multiple cases of a disease occurring rapidly, in a cluster or different locations.

  • Pandemic

    An epidemic of serious disease spreading rapidly in many countries simultaneously.

  • Phase 2

    This is when the UK will start to lift some of its lockdown rules while still trying to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

  • PPE

    PPE, or personal protective equipment, is clothing and kit such as masks, aprons, gloves and goggles used by medical staff, care workers and others to protect themselves against infection from coronavirus patients and other people who might be carrying the disease.

  • Quarantine

    The isolation of people exposed to a contagious disease to prevent its spread.

  • R0

    R0, pronounced “R-naught”, is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person. If the R0 of coronavirus in a particular population is 2, then on average each case will create two more new cases. The value therefore gives an indication of how much the infection could spread.

  • Recession

    This happens when there is a significant drop in income, jobs and sales in a country for two consecutive three-month periods.

  • Sars

    Severe acute respiratory syndrome, a type of coronavirus that emerged in Asia in 2003.

  • Self-isolation

    Staying inside and avoiding all contact with other people, with the aim of preventing the spread of a disease.

  • Social distancing

    Keeping away from other people, with the aim of slowing down transmission of a disease. The government advises not seeing friends or relatives other than those you live with, working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

  • State of emergency

    Measures taken by a government to restrict daily life while it deals with a crisis. This can involve closing schools and workplaces, restricting the movement of people and even deploying the armed forces to support the regular emergency services.

  • Statutory instrument

    These can be used by government ministers to implement new laws or regulations, or change existing laws. They are an easier alternative to passing a full Act of Parliament.

  • Symptoms

    Any sign of disease, triggered by the body’s immune system as it attempts to fight off the infection. The main symptoms of the coronavirus are a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

  • Vaccine

    A treatment that causes the body to produce antibodies, which fight off a disease, and gives immunity against further infection.

  • Ventilator

    A machine that takes over breathing for the body when disease has caused the lungs to fail.

  • Virus

    A tiny agent that copies itself inside the living cells of any organism. Viruses can cause these cells to die and interrupt the body’s normal chemical processes, causing disease.

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