Europe

UK government announces self-isolation for all arrivals from June

All travellers arriving in the UK will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Source: PA Media

Most people arriving in the UK from overseas will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 8 June, the British government has announced.

Britain will introduce a COVID-19 quarantine for travellers arriving from abroad from June 8, interior minister Priti Patel says.

Airlines have warned the measure will devastate their industry.

All international arrivals, including returning Britons, will have to self-isolate for 14 days and provide details of where they will be staying under the plans, which were criticised by airlines, business groups and politicians alike.

"Now we are past the peak of this virus, we must take steps to guard against imported cases triggering a resurgence of this deadly disease," Patel said at a news conference on Friday.

Those who breached the quarantine in England could be fined STG1000 ($A1800) and spot checks would be carried out by health and border officials.

Australia had been pushing for an exemption to the quarantine rules for its citizens based on its low infection rates and that it was a low-risk country. 

But in announcing the measures on Friday Ireland was the only country granted an exemption. 

The quarantine will not apply to those arriving from the Irish Republic, nor to freight drivers, medical professionals and seasonal agricultural workers.

The measures will be reviewed every three weeks.

Transport minister Grant Shapps has also suggested the government would seek to negotiate "air bridges" for travellers coming from countries with low virus infection rates.

Unlike many other countries, Britain has carried out few tests and checks on visitors, with quarantine limited only to arrivals from China at the start of the outbreak.

Spain and Italy have introduced rules that mean international arrivals must self-isolate for two weeks, while on Friday Ireland gave further details for its own quarantine proposals.

The British Chambers of Commerce said the blanket quarantine was deeply concerning and could be avoided with strong safety measures.

"This approach will damage international business and investor confidence at a time when it is vital to demonstrate that the UK can open for business safely," BCC director general Adam Marshall said.

The opposition Labour Party supported the measures but said the government's handling of UK arrivals had "lacked urgency, coherence and clarity from the outset".

Some members of Mr Johnson's Conservative party have also criticised the plan.

Chief among industry critics of the plan are airline bosses.

They have said the measures would have severe repercussions, with Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary saying they would be "unenforceable and unpoliceable".

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store. SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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