I wrote a few days ago about a proposed on-arrival two week quarantine which the UK Government, in the form of the Home Secretary Priti Patel, is set to announce this afternoon at 5pm. It will require arriving visitors to provide an address in the UK, or they will be provided with accommodation by the Government. Presumably this will be chargeable. The quarantine is likely to start as early as 1 June 2020.
The scheme is perceived to be popular with Brits and feeds in to the narrative that COVID is a foreign disease brought in from abroad. Pity the science only supports these measures at the start of a pandemic. The measures are too little and too late.
Enforcement will be announced too – either the Police or special inspectors – will be able to visit the address nominated by the arriving passenger to check that they are there. Fines will start at 1,000 GBP. Repeat offenders can be referred to a Magistrate’s Court for unlimited fines.
Of course, this is going to make no one want to travel. Annual leave allowances, for those with jobs, will be used up quickly with one week away leading to two weeks at home.
I am afraid that in support of an ideology that abhors anything from outside the UK, the Government will dissuade anyone from coming for holidays, just as Spain, Greece and Italy re-open their borders in advance of the peak summer travel season. Brits will be encouraged to stay in the UK for the summer holiday peak which is due in a few weeks. Business travellers will be encouraged to undertake online meetings rather than visiting clients in person.
The struggling members of the travel business sector will simply be unable to survive this, introduced just as many were planning to restart flights and holidays.
It’s a sad day for my country.