Quarantine Regulations – BSCC Summary
On Monday 8 June, the UK introduced new quarantine requirements for all international travellers arriving in the UK including British citizens.
The regulations require everyone arriving after this date should quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival by whatever means of transport they use to travel to the UK. There are a few exemptions for specific roles, but most people should expect to have to quarantine themselves.
The regulations do not apply to people travelling from within the Common Travel Area (the UK plus Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) unless their original arrival was within 14 days of arriving in the UK.
They also do not apply to people transiting the UK (provided that they are not passing through the UK border.
The regulations are slightly different whether you are isolating in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The remainder of this note refers to the English regulations.
There are two requirements on an arriving traveller. 1) they must provide information (including contact details) and 2) they must self-isolate for 15 days. The regulations also say that travellers must not travel to the UK if they have any symptoms of CoVid-19.
The required information must be provided on line up to 48 hours before arrival by all travellers (including those transiting the UK and individuals claiming an exemption), and should be done online if possible (but can be provided on arrival if necessary). Failure to provide the information may result in the UK immigration authorities not allowing entry to the UK. The pre-registration Public Health Passenger Locator Form can be found at https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk.
The exemptions for specific occupations include some for health workers, international transport workers, truck drivers, seasonal agricultural workers, weekly commuters and other more specialist and technical roles. The detailed list of exemptions and the evidence required to support this in each case can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules.
The rules of self-isolation are stricter than those that were in place for UK residents during the ‘Lockdown’, and are similar to the Serbian rules during the curfew. A traveller must go directly to the place of isolation upon getting to the UK and stay there until the end (midnight) of the 14th day afterwards. Breaking the rules, either failing to provide information, or failing to self isolate will lead to a fine and a UK criminal record (which will make it much more difficult to travel to the UK in future for non UK citizens).
The UK government will provide accommodation for self isolation if an arriving passenger has nowhere to self-isolate.
Quarantine cannot be avoided by taking any test for CoVid-19 or antibodies against it.
The regulations will be reviewed every three weeks, firstly on June 29th. Despite these reviews, no one should rely on any changes or relaxations happening by any particular time. In addition, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to advise against all non-essential travel worldwide.
Also, from June 15th, travellers on all public transport (plane, ferry, bus or train) in the UK will be required to wear face coverings.
The main UK Government guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk. This also provides links to the requirements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The page also says what can and cannot be done during self-isolation.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), together with many other UK business organisations, are pressing the UK Government on these regulations. In particular, the BCC is arguing for ‘Air Corridors’, bilateral agreements between named countries with low incidence of CoVid-19 that will allow these regulations to be lifted for direct flights. Additionally, several airlines are taking the UK Government to court over the regulations.
This briefing is written to be as accurate as possible but it remains an unofficial summary. The British Serbian Chamber of Commerce, www.britserbcham.com, does not accept any responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions. All travellers should check the detailed regulations at the time of travel to ensure that any changes in the regulations do not affect their plans or ability to enter the UK.
BSCC, Belgrade, 15 June 2020