Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport Britain
Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport, as Britain launches its 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, June 8, 2020. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Everyone travelling to the UK must now undergo mandatory two-week quarantine starting Monday June 8 in a bid to prevent the resurgence of coronavirus after weeks of lockdown in Britain.

If you’re a resident or visitor travelling to the UK, you must;

  • Provide your journey and contact details
  • Not leave the place you’re staying in for the first 14 days (known as self isolating)

If you fail to provide contact details you may be fined up to £100 (Dh464). And you may be fined more if you break this rule more than once. You may also be fined up to £1,000 (Dh4,641) if you refuse to self-isolate.

Rules vary slightly depending on which of the UK’s four nations you are staying in, i.e. England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

What happens on arrival?

A friend or relative can come and pick you up from the airport and take you to wherever you will spend your two week quarantine but you must go straight to that destination. You can use public transport only if there’s no other option. If they choose to use public transport they must use a mask and stay two metres apart from people. Visitors including friends and family aren’t allowed unless they are providing essential care.

Those who don’t need to provide contact details or self-isolate are those travelling from;

  • Ireland
  • The Channels Islands
  • The Isle of Man

Other exemptions include;

  • Diplomats
  • Defence personnel
  • Border security officials, contractors
  • Crown servants, government contractors
  • People who live in the UK but travel outside once a week
  • Lorry drivers
  •  People transiting
  • Civil aviation inspectors
  • Eurotunnel employees
  • Seamen
  • Pilots and crew
  • Seasonal agricultural workers
  • Emergency workers
  • Offshore oil and gas workers
  • Nuclear and space sector employees
  • Aerospace engineers
  • Postal workers
  • Those travelling for pre-arranged treatment
  • Healthcare workers
  • Those responsible for transporting medicines
  • Essential persons in clinical trials
  • Data infrastructure employees
  • Telecomms and communication employees
  • Urgent and essential BBC employees
  • Prison escorts

Why is it being introduced now?

The curve appears to have flattened in the UK, but there are many countries in the world, like Brazil and the US where the virus is still prevalent and the government doesn’t want a second wave caused by people returning from these countries on their holidays. The government therefore wants to limit interaction among these returnees with other members of society, just in case they bring the virus back. As Boris Johnson said it would undo all the hard work that the UK has gone through over the last few weeks of lockdown to have brought the virus under control.

Reasons for breaking your quarantine?

  • Urgent medical attention
  • Support from social services
  • Food and medicine if they can’t be delivered
  • A funeral of a close friend or relative
  • An emergency

How will it be enforced?

Public Health England officials will be responsible for checking new arrivals stick to the rules. With the contact address given in your form they could call your house or conduct spot checks. Any suspected breaches will be reported to Border Force and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). If someone is repeatedly not found at their address, the matter can be reported to the Border Force and NPCC triage centre. Reasonable force can be used to return someone to their address and £1,000 fixed penalty notices can be issued but other options should be sought first.

Wasn't there an agreement with France? 

There was going to be. Those coming in via France were exempted, but then the UK changed its mind and said those coming in from France would have to be quarantined and so France quickly reciprocated by issuing its own 14-day quarantine for those coming in from the UK.  

What do Brits in Dubai think?

Harry Tregoning

"The UK quarantine measures look to be similar to those here in the UAE in that you have to self isolate for 14 days on arrival. For my family they are going to stay with two other UAE based families in the English countryside and isolate together before heading off their separate ways. This means they are in it together and it should work well. Both my wife's and my parents are over 70 and it seems sensible not to expose oneself to them upon arrival and after a plane flight. I on the other hand cannot go as my property business is here and to spend two separate periods of self isolation means the end does not justify the means. These restrictions are seen to be the best at this moment although we have seen rules develop dependent on the spread of COVID-19. We work within the laws and advice we are given and respect these."

Kate Monaghan

"I think the new inbound quarantine rules in the UK have come too late. The UK's already recorded the second highest death toll in the world and when you look at countries like New Zealand that are now showing zero cases the inbound quarantine was one of the first actions that they imposed. Also with the diluted version that the UK's put into place with lots of exemptions, I don't think the benefit will outweigh the cost to the aviation and tourism industries. As an expat and how that effects me at the moment, I was already a bit dubious about returning to the UK on vacation anyway given the fact that while we are there, there could be a second surge, there could be a second lockdown. If the UK doesn't get the cases more under control the UAE might enforce quarantine when you get back here. There's a lot of off-putting factors anyway and this just adds to it and makes it very unlikely that I'll be going back to the UK in the next few months."

Top twitter reactions to the quarantine