LONDON (AP) — Britain began imposing a 14-day quarantine Monday on travellers coming into the country — a sweeping measure meant to halt the further spread of COVID-19 that has been roundly criticised by the aviation and tourism industries.
All passengers — bar a handful of exceptions like truckers or medical workers — will be asked to fill in a form detailing exactly where they will self-isolate for two weeks and give a phone number so authorities can check up on them.
The requirement applies regardless if they are citizens or not.
In England, new arrivals should stay indoors and rely on others to get their food.
They can only leave for specific reasons like needing urgent medical care or medicine.
Those who fail to comply with the quarantine rules could be fined.
“There are quite a lot of unknowns about the situation,” Crime, Policing and Justice Minister Kit Malthouse told the BBC.
“But for the moment, having a clear set of rules around international travel is critical.”
The quarantine was imposed after a heated debate on whether it would help British efforts to tamp down the UK outbreak or simply stamp out any hopes that the British tourism industry will recover following months of closures under the country’s coronavirus lockdown measures.
Many questioned the quarantine’s timing, saying it has been introduced too late to be useful and too early to tamp down on any expected second wave of infections.