Starting June 8, people arriving in the UK will have to go into self-isolation at a designated address for 14 days as a condition of being allowed through frontier posts, Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs.
Amid criticism from opposition politicians, Patel on Wednesday insisted that the measure was proportionate and was aimed at preventing COVID-19 being brought into the UK from other countries at a time when coronavirus cases were falling, reports Xinhua news agency.
Patel said the quarantine controls, backed by fines of up to 1,000 pounds ($1,260) for breaching the rules, would be reviewed at the end of June and regularly afterwards.
The rules will not apply to people arriving in England from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
As to worries that these restrictions would hit the aviation industry, Patel said in her statement to Parliament that the government understands how tough the public health measures to prevent a second wave of coronavirus are for this sector, noting that it will continue to work closely with companies and carriers.
“We will tomorrow (Thursday) host a roundtable to work across the travel sector and the broader business sector as well on how we can innovate and move forward together,” she said, adding that “a long-term plan” for the industry will be formed.
As for tourism, she said the government knew these measures will present difficulties for the industry, noting that it has an unprecedented package of support for both employees and businesses.
“These measures are backed by the science, supported by the public, and essential to save lives… We will all suffer in the long run if we get this wrong. That’s why it’s crucial that we introduce these measures now,” said the Secretary.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire from main opposition leader Keir Starmer over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starmer said this was a critical week in the UK’s response to COVID-19 as lockdown measures were eased with many schools reopening.
“This is the week, of all weeks, where public trust and confidence in the government needed to be at its highest,” the Labour leader added.
The UK has so far registered 281,270 COVID-19 cases, with 39,811 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in Europe.