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Foreign travellers who disobey UK quarantine rules could face deportation

PA Media logoPA Media 02/06/2020 By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

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(Video by Press Association)

Foreign travellers who disobey forthcoming UK quarantine rules could be deported, according to new restrictions laid out by ministers.

The rules, due to be set out by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday, have caused unease in the Tory ranks and been condemned by businesses.

The plans, coming into force on June 8, will see people arriving in the UK told to isolate for 14 days to prevent coronavirus cases being introduced from overseas.

The Home Office said removal from the country would be considered “as a last resort” for foreign nationals who refuse to comply with the order to stay at a single residence.

Priti Patel holding a sign: Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to unveil the new restrictions on travellers on Wednesday (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright) © Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to unveil the new restrictions on travellers on Wednesday (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright)

A £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England will be levied on those failing to adhere, with prosecution and an unlimited fine potentially to follow, the department confirmed.

Failure to complete the form declaring where the person will live for two weeks will also be punishable by a £100 fixed penalty notice.

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More on coronavirus:

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Key changes to the UK's lockdown rules (The Guardian)

What the NHS Test and Trace system asks you to do (The Independent)

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Ms Patel said: “Protecting the public’s health and avoiding a second peak that overwhelms the NHS will always be our top priority.

“As we get the virus under control here, we must manage the risk of cases being imported from abroad. We owe it to the thousands who’ve lost their lives not to throw away our progress.

Gallery: Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak around the world (Photo Services)

“These measures are informed by science, backed by the public and will keep us all safe.”

The Government has vowed to review the measures, which will be in place across the UK but set individually by the devolved administrations, by June 29.

Ministers have said they will study the impact the restraints are having on the economy, as well the role antibody testing could have on lowering the health risk involved, when considering whether to alter the arrangements.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “These measures will be reviewed every few weeks, and we are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here.”

Passengers wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) queue up to board a China bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport, west London on May 22, 2020. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images) Passengers wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) queue up to board a China bound flight at Terminal 2 of Heathrow airport, west London on May 22, 2020. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Downing Street suggested on Tuesday that the restrictions would be similar to those imposed during the coronavirus lockdown.

Number 10 said visitors and those returning from abroad would be allowed to leave isolation to shop for food and other essential supplies.

Travellers will also be able to board public transport from the port or airport to where they will quarantine, although they will be encouraged to use private vehicles.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that the Government is still looking at the prospect of “air bridges” between the UK and other countries, creating specific exemptions from the quarantine rules.

a man wearing a suit and tie walking on a sidewalk: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the Government would review the travel restrictions at the end of the month (Victoria Jones/PA) © Provided by PA Media Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the Government would review the travel restrictions at the end of the month (Victoria Jones/PA)

Reports suggest Boris Johnson is in favour of the plan.

There have been calls from senior Tories for the quarantine plan to be scrapped in favour of the so-called air bridge solution.

Former transport minister Stephen Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that air bridges would be a “sensible, targeted response” between low-risk countries.

“I think the idea of air bridges are the right way forward,” he added.

a group of people standing around a plane: New arrivals into the UK will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) © Provided by PA Media New arrivals into the UK will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I think, as we’ve seen across the world, people are taking measures out of the lockdown and this targeted approach would be a much more sensible way to behave.”

George Morgan-Grenville, chief executive of tour operator Red Savannah, said: “By pursuing its quarantine plans without due regard for the economic consequences, the Government is choosing to ignore the devastation it will cause to companies, to employment and to the lives of all those whose jobs will be lost.

“The quarantine measures are a blunt weapon which will bring only economic disaster.”

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Stay at home as much as possible to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

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