Hope for summer holidays as quarantine to be reviewed every three weeks and 'air bridges' ARE still on
BRITS shouldn't give up hope for a summer holiday abroad yet with quarantine restrictions to be examined "every three weeks", according to the Home Secretary.
MP Priti Patel has announced that the new 14-day quarantine rules will be put in place from June 8.
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However, the new policy will be reviewed every three weeks, meaning the measures could be removed later in the year if coronavirus levels remain low.
Passengers will have to fill a form providing their contact and travel information so they can be traced if infections arise and could be contacted regularly during the 14 days to ensure their compliance.
Breaches would be punishable with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice in England, or prosecution with an unlimited fine, while devolved nations can set out their own enforcement approaches.
Border Force will be able to refuse entry to foreign citizens who are not UK residents during border checks while removal from the country could be used as a last resort, the Home Office said.
The mandatory self-isolation would not apply to people coming from Ireland, medics tackling Covid-19 and seasonal agricultural workers.
Ms Patel said: "As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border.
"We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave.
"I fully expect the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures. But we will take enforcement action against the minority of people who endanger the safety of others."
The announcement will provoke fresh anger from the aviation industry, with airlines warning the measures could be disastrous for them.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: "By introducing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for every single traveller entering the UK, the Government's approach will prevent flights from resuming.
"We are continually reviewing our flying programme and with these restrictions, there simply won't be sufficient demand to resume passenger services before August at the earliest."
Ministers are continuing to consider "air bridges" with other nations that have low transmission rates in order to allow some international travel, with Ms Patel adding they should "not be ruled out".
Greece and Portugal have suggested forming an agreement with the UK to allow tourist to be exempt.
Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye has also backed the ideas as a way to continue air travel.
He said during the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "If they think that quarantine is the right thing to do I think we have to go with that, but it has to be time-limited and we have to plan for what comes next.
“The idea of air bridge […] is a very sensible way of doing that."
He added: "There is no perfect way to make sure only healthy people fly at this stage so we have to take a risk-based approach."
Spain hopes to end their own 14-day quarantine rules "as soon as possible".
Currently, British tourists will have to quarantine for tow weeks when entering the country, as well as if travelling to the islands.
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