UK 14 Day Coronavirus Quarantine

UK 14 Day Coronavirus Quarantine

Updated 5/22

The UK Has Announced a 14 Day Coronavirus Quarantine for All Travelers entering the UK, effective June 8, with limited exceptions. This was announced on May 22 by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who noted that violators could face up to a GBP 1000 fine. As of May 22, the UK has confirmed over 254,000 coronavirus infections (an 18% increase since 2 weeks ago) and over 36,000 deaths (a 16% increase over the total 2 weeks prior), which is likely an undercount given the over 12,000 excess deaths in nursing homes of people who were never tested.

UK residents will have to provide their home address or for travelers, the address where they will be staying for the 14 days upon arriving at a UK airport, train station or port. Failure to provide an arrival form with these details incurs a GBP 100 fine. New arrivals will be encouraged, although not required, to download the UK's contact tracing app, once available. Passengers are also advised to take a car directly to their home or accommodation, but not required to, which critics have seized upon, since crowded mass transit is a particular liability when it comes to coronavirus transmission.

Essential medical workers, truck drivers transporting goods, and agricultural workers will be exempt from the quarantine requirements in order to be able to do their work. That said, despite Johnson's earlier agreement with Macron that the UK quarantine would not apply to travelers entering from France, and vice versa, this was scrapped, and French visitors who do not fall into one of the exempt categories will be subject to quarantine. Since France has taken a reciprocity approach within Schengen countries to traveler arrivals, that means UK citizens will likely face a retaliatory 14 day quarantine in France.

Per The Times, authorities will conduct spot checks that arrivals are quarantining as required, with offenders fined GBP 1000, and non-UK citizens risking deportation.

Airlines UK, which represents British Airways and other British airlines, fears the new plan will further decimate arrivals and UK travel, as well as the broader economy, and has called for a credible exit plan, with weekly reviews to see if it is still required.

European Union countries have barred entry except for their own citizens and EU citizens (sometimes EEA, Swiss and/or Norwegian citizens are also permitted) and most have required 14 day quarantines for permitted arrivals (see Austria's 14 Day Quarantine or Pay for COVID-19 Test: Travel's New Normal?) In contrast, the UK, at time of writing, has not restricted entry to travelers nor required them to quarantine, even though the country has been under Stay at Home orders that are expected to loosen to permit some garden centers and other outdoor businesses and venues to reopen.

By way of comparison, U.S. states cover a full spectrum of approaches, from states that have no stay at home orders or restrictions at all, such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas, to New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington, Oregon, and others that continue to have stay at home orders in effect. One of the best cases to be made for a 14 day quarantine is Hawaii, which instituted a 14 day quarantine for all arrivals from March 26, 2020, which is still in effect and which the state is looking to better enforce. On May 8, there were no new coronavirus cases at all, although likely in the coming days there will still be a few new cases.

On the other hand, the virtual elimination of imported coronavirus cases to Hawaii has come at a significant cost, with about 35% unemployment.

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