From subsequent week, new UK border measures will come into drive as ministers act to stop the attainable import of COVID variants.
The UK authorities has been taking recommendation from officers in Australia over the recent restrictions – a rustic that has been extensively praised for its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The brand new motion has been prompted by fears that COVID variants, which may presumably be extra proof against vaccines, would possibly enter or develop extra widespread within the UK at a time when the vaccine roll-out is being expanded.
Well being Secretary Matt Hancock described the necessity to reply to new variants as “mission-critical to guard ourselves for the long run”.
So, what are the brand new measures?
From 15 February, UK and Irish residents arriving in England who’ve been in “pink record” international locations within the earlier 10 days might want to quarantine in a lodge room for 10 days on their arrival.
They should e-book on-line via a devoted portal upfront and pay for a quarantine bundle, which incorporates assigned transport to their lodge, COVID testing and meals and drinks.
The cost for a single grownup might be £1,750 and the federal government has booked 4,600 rooms throughout 16 motels.
Fines from £5,000, rising to £10,000, might be issued to arrivals who fail to quarantine in a chosen lodge.
Passenger Locator Types, that are already required for presentation on the UK border, will now additionally not solely need to element a passenger’s journey journey but in addition their quarantine and testing bundle.
What’s a ‘pink record’ nation?
There are at present 33 international locations on the UK’s journey “pink record”.
These are international locations from which solely British and Irish nationals, or third nation nationals with residence rights within the UK, will be capable of enter the UK.
In the event you don’t have residence rights within the UK, you may be refused entry on the UK border you probably have been in one of many “pink record” international locations within the earlier 10 days.
The 33 international locations at present on the UK’s “pink record” are:
Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eswatini, French Guiana, Guyana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Anybody making an attempt to hide that they’ve travelled in a “pink record” nation may face a £10,000 high quality or prosecution and as much as 10 years in jail.
What if I am not arriving from a ‘pink record’ nation?
If you’re arriving in England from a rustic that is not on the UK’s journey “pink record” you’ll not need to quarantine in a lodge room.
Nonetheless, you’ll have to full a 10-day quarantine interval at dwelling.
At present, everybody arriving within the UK has to point out proof of a unfavorable COVID check outcome from as much as 72 hours earlier than their journey.
The testing regime for these coming from overseas is now being expanded, with all arrivals now having to undertake two necessary PCR assessments – on day two and day eight of their 10-day quarantine interval.
Exams should be booked by passengers from an inventory of government-approved suppliers, via a web based portal, earlier than their journey to the UK.
If both of those post-arrival assessments is constructive, they will need to quarantine for an additional 10 days from the date of the check
Any constructive check might be despatched for genomic sequencing to verify whether or not they have a variant of concern.
The prevailing “check to launch” scheme, which permits folks to exit dwelling quarantine in the event that they check unfavorable after 5 days, can nonetheless be used along with the 2 necessary post-arrival assessments.
Nonetheless, this scheme can’t be used if you’re arriving from a “pink record” nation.
A £1,000 high quality might be handed to any arrival who fails to take a compulsory check, adopted by a £2,000 high quality for anybody who fails to take the second necessary check.
This might be accompanied by an computerized extension of the quarantine interval to 14 days.
Are these UK-wide measures?
The principles might be barely totally different in Scotland, the place all worldwide travellers arriving instantly on flights should enter quarantine motels.
Nonetheless, the Welsh authorities has mentioned it should put in place the identical preparations in Wales because the UK authorities is doing for England.
Mr Hancock mentioned the federal government was working with the Republic of Eire to place in place “a system that works throughout the Widespread Journey Space”.
This might assist shut a attainable loophole that would enable folks to keep away from border measures by travelling to the UK by way of the Republic of Eire.
Over three nights Sky Information will host a sequence of particular programmes inspecting the UK’s response to the pandemic.
Watch COVID Disaster: Studying the Classes at 8pm on 9, 10 and 11 February.