New COVID-19 travel rules come into force today

New rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days have come into effect.

Travellers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train now have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival or risk being prosecuted and fined if they do not comply. Surprise visits will be used to check that people are following the new rules. This also applies to UK nationals returning home.

More than 200 travel companies have asked for the new rules to be scrapped and some MPs have also voiced concerns. Home Secretary Priti Patel has said the laws were designed “to prevent a second wave” of coronavirus.

What are the new Coronavirus rules?

  • People arriving in the UK should drive their own car to their destination, where possible, and once there they must not use public transport or taxis.
  • Arrivals must not go to work, school, or public areas, or have visitors – except for essential support. They are also not allowed to go out to buy food, or other essentials, where they can rely on others.
  • Those arriving in England, Wales and Northern Ireland could face a fine of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for the full 14 days, while they face a £480 fine in Scotland. The maximum fine for repeat offenders in Scotland is £5,000.

What are the exceptions?

Anyone arriving from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man does not have to enter quarantine.

The following people are also exempt from the new Covid-19 rules:

  • Road haulage and freight workers
  • Medical and care professionals providing essential healthcare
  • Those arriving for pre-arranged medical treatment
  • Passengers in transit, if they do not pass through border control
  • Seasonal agricultural workers if they self-isolate where they are working
  • UK residents who ordinarily travel overseas at least once a week for work