Quarantine: Priti Patel gives go-ahead to 14 days of self-isolation for arrivals to UK

Simon Calder
Care port: face masks provided for passengers at Heathrow Airport: LHR Airports Ltd

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has confirmed to MPs that the quarantine scheme will go ahead as intended.

Starting on 8 June, most travellers travelling to the UK by air, sea or rail will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The obligation applies to returning holidaymakers as well as foreign visitors to the UK.

She said: "The scientific advice has been consistent and clear.

"Travellers from overseas could become a high proportion of infection cases.

"Public health will always come first."

Ms Patel said that the measures would be reviewed in the week beginning 28 June.

When quarantine comes up for review, air-bridge arrangements are likely to be used to justify lifting the obligation for arrivals from the most popular holiday destinations.

Quarantine has the immediate effect of deterring British holidaymakers from going abroad and wiping out inbound tourism and business travel for the early part of the summer.

The present number of travellers coming into the UK – currently around 7,000 per day, mostly into Heathrow – is expected to dwindle almost to zero while quarantine remains in force.

Ms Patel’s announcement was condemned by many MPs.

Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP and former culture secretary, said: "Given it has no basis in science and will inflict further damage to an industry already on its knees, would it not be better just to abandon it?"

UK-bound travellers can arrange to arrive in Britain before quarantine begins on 8 June.

British Airways is offering passengers booked to fly to the UK once quarantine is imposed the chance to switch flights and return by 11.59pm on 7 June without paying extra.

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