July 3rd Update: The UK has added 59 countries for which the 14 day quarantine won’t apply. If a country isn’t on the list, all of the advice below still applies…

The United Kingdom (UK) 14 day quarantine is here, it’s live and it’s been launched as the rest of the world looks in contrast to open borders and end quarantine restrictions. The measures have now been clarified by Priti Patel, UK Secretary Of State and feature fines, spot checks and more scrutiny to incoming visits than ever before.

Here’s all the details of when the new 14 day UK quarantine rules come into place, any fines for potential breaks of quarantine protocols, and what it means for your next trip returning home, or as a visitor. In a positive twist of news, the quarantine no longer applies to 59 destinations, meaning you can visit from, or return home from 59 countries without needing to isolate.

london-red-phone-boothUK 14 Day Quarantine: Penalties And Rules

According to statements by Priti Patel, Secretary of State For The UK Home Office, incoming passengers will be made to fill out contact details providing an address, or be sent to a government quarantine hotel at their own expense and asked to quarantine for 14 days, for arrivals from June 8th, 2020. Anyone who cannot satisfy these requirements will likely be returned to their point of origin.

The new UK 14 day quarantine form which all arrivals must fill out asks for…

  • passport
  • name of the airline, train or ferry company
  • tour company (if travelling with a tour group)
  • booking reference
  • arrival airport, station or port
  • arrival date
  • flight, train or bus number
  • quarantining address
  • emergency contact

Further plans are in place to fine quarantine rule breakers if found to be in breach of the 14 day rules, and spot checks will be made via mobile phone to enforce rules. The spot checks are said by police only to be done by ringing your mobile telephone, which makes the efficacy highly questionable. Here’s how the 14 day quarantine rules look look…

  • £1000 fine for breaking quarantine isolation, with each fine increasing.
  • Contact details must be shared for returning residents and visitors.

Will The UK 14 Day Quarantine Measures Have Any Effect?

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group For Emergencies (SAGE), which acts as the Governments official advisor on health and outbreak issues advise suggest this is isn’t exactly about the numbers, or a statistical approach to avoiding a second outbreak, offering…

“Numbers of cases arriving from other countries were estimated to be insignificant in comparison with domestic cases, comprising approximately 0.5 per cent of total domestic cases”.

In other words, cases arriving from outside the country are said to account for less than half a percent, whereas domestic cases account for 99.5 percent of the issue at the moment. As other countries look to reboot their vital travel and tourism needs, it makes moves all the more questionable, from a scientific and economic perspective.

UK 14 Day Quarantine: Air Bridges

Grant Shapps, Transportation Secretary for the UK was recently hauled in front of UK Parliament to discuss the future of Britain’s 14 day quarantine plans, which in the interim torpedoed any chance of a recovery in the vital travel sector.

Shapps noted that the UK is exploring creating “air bridges” to countries where travel to and from would not require quarantine. Like many UK Government announcements in recent weeks, the nuts and bolts details of who, when or where were mostly spared, but it can be expected that any announcements would be made around three weeks from June 8th, 2020, when the initial travel quarantines come into place.

Priti Patel confirmed the UK would investigate measures every 3 weeks in search of policy amendments, but the government has pressed on with the quarantine, despite massive opposition from business and travel industry leaders, including the bosses of every airline and airport in the UK.

Shapps told Parliament…

“It is the case we should consider further improvements – for example, things like air bridges enabling people from other countries who have themselves achieved lower levels of coronavirus infection to come to the country.”

The potential for good news is that the Foreign Office may take down quarantine restrictions for certain destinations based on covid-19 performance at some point in late June or early July, 2020. In the interim, many prospective air travel passengers will no longer have confidence they need to actually go through and enter their credit card details to book a flight.

On the news, Virgin Atlantic stated demand for travel wouldn’t return until July 20th, at the earliest, and therefore they won’t be flying until that date. Ryanair has stated a drop in demand greater than 50% on the news.

Plans for a 14 day quarantine made sense months ago, when countries effectively cordoned off borders to outside travelers, and made any eligible travelers returning isolate for 14 days to reduce risks of outside infection, either in a government facility or at home, but many question the motive of these plans so late, months after the “barn door” had been left open.

As Europe looks to open borders from June 15th, and most countries leave quarantine restrictions behind, many fear the UK will be left behind as the world recovers, without science supporting governmental decisions.

You can review the full plans from the UK Government here.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. Okay so I understand the FCO has advised against all but essential travel and my travel insurance is void if I were to go ahead…. But if I fly to Greece on July 1 is there any practical implication to ignoring the FCO guidance? I have CV antibodies so it seems like if Greece will take me the only real impact is having to work from home for two weeks when I get home (which I would do anyway. Thoughts?

    1. I think, to my understanding that you’re just on your own, but there’s nothing stopping you. People are still flying every day, and worst case, minus lack of protections for insurance etc you’d just need to do the 14 day quarantine.

  2. The Greeks are being extremely tough on testing all arrivals. Last Monday they tested the 91 passengers arriving from Doha on QR, who had all gone through temperature checks before boarding. The Greeks found 12 were actually carrying the virus but showing no symptoms, the entire planeload of passengers were compulsorily quarantined, at Greece’s expense, but that would not be my idea of a holiday. I wouldn’t count on your antibodies being an acceptable alternative but ultimately it can only be your decision

  3. The quote you use from SAGE was abut the early days of lockdown when the number of new cases daily in the UK was very high.
    Now it is estimated there are about 5,600 new cases daily in the UK. And this number is falling week by week. The previous week it was about 8,000.
    Therefore, any new infections from overseas are more significant.
    I would also remind readers the UK is still suffering, on some days, more deaths than the rest of Europe put together. So the UK has some way to go before it reaches the state of other EU countries.
    The effect of quarantine on deterring tourists from visiting the UK is overstated. What would they do here? Restaurants, bars, pubs, tourist attractions are closed. Visitors would be required to stay in one household throughout their stay and not enter the houses of others. Public transport is for the use of essential workers only. So no Underground, buses, trains. What would these prospective tourists do?

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