After days of speculation Priti Patel, the Home Secretary announced a raft of new measures in parliament this afternoon designed to keep the U.K .safe from new variants of Covid.
From a yet unspecified date, all passengers arriving from certain “red list” countries will be required to quarantine in a government-provided hotel. There will be no exemptions unlike before. The initial list is not exhaustive and could be added to at any time. I would guess this will be done on a weekly basis like the travel corridors which were announced every Thursday at 5pm.
Details are as usual thin on the ground (if it’s that’s important why are we still non the wiser a week after they first started talking about it?). There will be 22 countries on the red list, but the countries have not been confirmed. It’s assumed that they will be the same as now with them being in Southern Africa, South America, Portugal, and Cape Verde.
As well as this, all departing passengers from the U.K. will have to submit a declaration prior to travel, detailing their reasons. They will also be asked by airlines and border officials if their journey is essential. Airlines will be fined if they fail to enforce non-exemptions properly. This is a step too far in my opinion. I don’t think people will be flocking to the airport for their holidays now anyway. Can you imagine if you have an elderly parent abroad and you get that call you need to get there quickly? Now you have to think how on earth you can prove that situation! Not only that but if they are in a country that needs quarantine, you now have to find both the airfare and the hotel quarantine money on top, just to be able to say goodbye to your parent. Sadly my own family could end up in this situation if the list of countries is extended.
Police will be stationed at airports to question people travelling and send them home or fine them if they are deemed to be travelling without a good reason.
There will also be more checks on people quarantine at home (figures show that currently only 3 in 100 people are checked on).
No suggestions of how long this will last and when it might be reviewed were announced. For many travel businesses on their last legs, this could be the final straw.