The nonsense UK quarantine starts 8 June, but has an interesting exemption

The UK Government announced that it’s post-arrival quarantine for travellers (except Ireland and Isle of Man) starts on Monday 8 June. After this date arriving passengers will be required to remain at an address provided to immigration authorities for 2 weeks after arrival. Checks will occur and fines will be handed out. The requirement is regardless of whether they arrive by air, sea or rail.

Whilst the UK Government is trying to reassure its citizens that summer holidays may be possible and providing reassurance that the travel industry is important to the UK economy it is pressing ahead with a measure that is too little, too late.

There are an interesting range of people exempt from having to comply with these requirements. I am picking out the last paragraph as it may apply to some readers:

  • a person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week

This may help people travelling to/from countries where they work, if they cannot work from home.

The full list of exemptions is huge, but I provide it for completeness:

  • a road haulage worker and road passenger transport worker
  • a transit passenger, an individual transiting to a country outside of the Common Travel Area, who remains airside and does not pass border control
  • an individual arriving to attend pre-arranged treatment, when receiving that treatment in the UK. Healthcare means all forms of healthcare including mental and physical health. There are also exemptions for live donors and those accompanying the individual, for example a carer or a child
  • a registered health or care professional travelling to the UK to provide essential healthcare, including where this is not related to coronavirus
  • a person who has travelled to the UK for the purpose of transporting, to a healthcare provider in the UK, material which consists of, or includes, human cells or blood which are to be used for the purpose of providing healthcare
  • qualified persons and responsible persons for human medicines, clinical trials and pharmacovigilance
  • quality assurance inspectors for human medicines
  • sponsors and essential persons needed for clinical trials or studies
  • civil aviation inspectors engaged on inspection duties
  • Eurotunnel train drivers and crew, Eurotunnel Shuttle drivers, freight train drivers, crew and essential cross-border rail freight workers operating through the Channel Tunnel
  • a Euratom inspector
  • workers engaged in essential or emergency works, related to water supplies and sewerage services
  • workers engaged in essential or emergency works related to a generating system, an electricity interconnector, a district heat network, communal heating, automated ballast cleaning and track re-laying systems or network
  • a worker undertaking activities in offshore installations, upstream petroleum infrastructure, critical safety work on offshore installations and wells that are being decommissioned or which are being preserved pending demolition or reuse or activities for the provision of workers, goods, materials or equipment or in the provision of other essential services required to support the safe operation of activities
  • workers engaged in essential or emergency works, including those carried out by specialist rail maintenance technicians employed on the national rail infrastructure as part of a specialist team with Network Rail
  • drivers and crew of trains operated by Eurostar International Limited, essential cross-border workers working for Eurostar International Limited
  • operational, rail maintenance, security and safety workers working on the Channel Tunnel system
  • a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works or services (including commissioning, maintenance, and repairs and safety checks) to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods
  • a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works (including commissioning, maintenance, repairs and safety checks) or to fulfil contractual obligations or warranty specifications in, or in connection with, waste management facilities used for the management, sorting, treatment, recovery, or disposal of waste (including energy from waste)
  • a worker with specialist technical skills, where those specialist technical skills are required for essential or emergency works to ensure the continued safe and secure operations of the following infrastructure:
    • gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks and system operators
    • gas terminals
    • space infrastructure
  • seamen and masters
  • a pilot, as defined in paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 3A to the Merchant Shipping Act
  • an inspector, and surveyor of ships
  • crew, as defined in paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Air Navigation Order 2016(h), where such crew have travelled to the UK in the course of their work
  • nuclear personnel who are essential to the safe and secure operations of a licensed nuclear site
  • nuclear emergency responder
  • agency inspector
  • an inspector from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a specialist aerospace engineer, or a specialist aerospace worker
  • a person engaged in operational, maintenance or safety activities of a downstream oil facility that has a capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes
  • a postal worker involved in the transport of mail into and out of the UK
  • a person involved in essential maintenance and repair of data infrastructure required to reduce and resolve outages, or in the provision of goods and services to support these activities
  • an information technology or telecommunications professional whose expertise is required to provide an essential or emergency response to threats and incidents relating to the security of any network and information system and ensure the continued operation of any network and information system
  • a person who is engaged in urgent or essential work on electronic communications networks
  • a person who is engaged in urgent or essential work for the BBC’s broadcasting transmission network and services
  • a seasonal agricultural worker who has an offer of employment for seasonal work to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture on a named farm. You can start work immediately but you must self-isolate on the farm. However, you may mix with fellow workers
  • members of diplomatic missions and consular posts in the United Kingdom, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations where their head of mission or equivalent has certified that their work is essential to the functioning of the mission and cannot be undertaken whilst the person is complying with the requirements of self-isolation
  • crown servants or government contractors returning to the United Kingdom who are either:
    • required to undertake policing or essential government work in the United Kingdom within 14 days of their arrival
    • have been undertaking policing or essential government work outside of the United Kingdom but are required to return temporarily, after which they will depart to conduct policing or essential government work outside the United Kingdom. Essential government work includes, in particular, work related to national security and immigration, the coronavirus disease and any other crisis response, and international negotiations
  • international prison escorts – a person designated by the relevant Minister under section 5(3) of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984(a)
  • a person responsible for escorting a person sought for extradition pursuant to a warrant issued under Part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003 or sought for extradition pursuant to any other extradition arrangements
  • defence personnel and contractors doing work necessary for the delivery of essential Defence activities, including Visiting Forces and NATO
  • an official required to work on essential border security duties
  • a person who resides in the UK and who pursues an activity as an employed or self-employed person in another country to which they usually go at least once a week

The Government is holding out the prospect of three weekly reviews of the quarantine and the possibility of agreements between countries with low infection rates to allow travel without a subsequent quarantine. We shall see if this makes an appearance, as several countries seem reluctant to participate when infection rates remain so high in the UK.


  1. Does the post-arrival quarantine apply to tourists who are flying into the U.K. to board a cruise ship or cruise ship passengers who are disembarking and flying out of the U.K.?
    It’s unclear if the second exemption on the list of exemptions applies to the aforementioned.

  2. What about people arriving at a uk airport to connect to another flight without leaving the airport itself : transit passengers ?

    Ps: Spelling : ‘Nonsense‘

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