Coronavirus quarantine for UK arrivals delayed until June

‘The final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon and come in early next month,’ said the transport secretary

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 18 May 2020 20:45
Coronavirus in numbers

The UK’s travel industry – and millions of frustrated holidaymakers – have been told that the government’s long-trailed quarantine plan will not take effect this month.

On 10 May, the prime minister said that travellers arriving in the UK by air would be required to self-isolate in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The following day, the government clarified the planned quarantine and said that sea and rail arrivals would also be affected.

Ministers said the policy would come in as soon as possible, and guided that it would be before the end of May.

However, during transport questions in the House of Commons, Grant Shapps said: “The final details of the quarantine scheme will be released soon and come in early next month.”

The transport secretary’s revelation will appal airlines, ferry firms and train operators because it moves the date when the 14-day lockdown rule might be lifted closer to the summer peak, which begins in July.

Airlines and holiday companies, including Ryanair and Tui, have announced they will restart operations at scale in July.

Earlier, the prime minister’s official spokesperson told a Westminster briefing that work on the scheme is continuing, but confirmed: “Any changes brought in will be subject to a rolling review every three weeks to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific advice and that they remain effective and necessary.”

Abta, the travel association, has demanded that quarantine is ”part of a wider strategy, including consideration of FCO travel advice”. The Foreign Office currently warns against all but essential travel abroad.

The chief executive of Abta, Mark Tanzer, said: “Any [quarantine] measures should be based on health and scientific advice and be proportionate, targeted and limited only to what is necessary to protect public health, and they should be communicated clearly.”

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